Activist Rick Cervantes
In February, I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to go on PrEP. Do I really want to take a pill every day? Do I want to see a doctor every three months? And my own fears kicked in — what if it doesn’t work? I made an appointment with a doctor at Sharp, we talked about it honestly and I was sold.
I had to get some initial bloodwork done, of course an HIV test, and some other general health tests. My test came back negative that same day and the doctor wrote a prescription for Truvada. My prescription was ready later that day, and the next morning I was taking my first pill. I’ve taken one pill every day since then — now over 100 days — and I’m so glad I made that choice.
Sure, it was a little hard at first. After the first couple of days, when the medicine started to settle into my body, I didn’t feel so good. I had some mild nausea and decided to take a couple of days off work to let the symptoms subside — which they did after three days. I’ve never had another side effect since then and I’ve taken other medications in my life that were a lot more common than Truvada and had much worse side effects.
I’ve proudly posted about taking PrEP on my personal social media and many other online groups related to PrEP and HIV, and, as I mentioned earlier, it’s really caught people’s attention.
Working with the #BeTheGeneration campaign, we’ve really made an impact, and I hope more and more people continue to reach out to me, Benny and others at The Center to ask questions. We want people to know about the options available to them, and we want to help people stop being so fearful and put an end to the stigma and shaming.
I know that being on PrEP has made feel more confident and healthier and has given me a better outlook on sex and I want you to be able feel this freedom too. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or anyone else at The Center’s #BeTheGeneration campaign, for more information or just to talk.
Together, we can end new transmissions of HIV!
—Rick Cervantes is the social media coordinator at The San Diego LGBT Community Center and active in its #BeTheGeneration campaign. Reach him at 619-692-2077 ext. 220 or follow his journey on Twitter @mistercervantes.