About The Day I Got PrEP-ed

About The Day I Got PrEP-ed

After I made the decision to get PrEP, going to Population Council, the LGBT-friendly clinic close to my workplace to go get the meds became an exercise I found myself frequently putting off. Part of my procrastination was because of my unrelenting work schedule; part of it was because I didn’t know what getting the meds would entail. I was a little bit apprehensive.

I’d heard a lot about PrEP, both from here Kito Diaries and from AHRDI (Access to Health and Rights Development Initiative), a WhatsApp group I’m in that is an extension of the NGO. I’d learned that PrEP (short for Pre-exposure prophylaxis) was a sort of preventive measure against HIV – an insurance, if you will. That even when a person manages to slip up with the safety of the sex he has, he is still protected if he’s already been on PrEP.

Eventually, the day came when I had the day off work, and I decided to get this done. After taking care of some issues at the office that morning before the commencement of my day off, I went off to Population Council. I’d previously been in touch with a friend who works there as a peer educator, and he was going to guide me through the whole process.

When I got there and my intention was registered, first, I was counselled. I was taken to a room and asked questions, some of which I hadn’t imagined I’d be asked. Questions like “Do you engage in orgies?” “When last did you have sex?” “What was your last HIV status?” “What role do you predominantly play in bed?”

If the environment wasn’t so sterile, I’d almost feel like I was on a date from Grindr.

Thereafter, I was given an education on PrEP. It’s apparently not an insurance against other forms of STD. Its protective abilities only apply to HIV. You must have at least be medicating for up to 4 days before possible exposure to HIV before you can say you’re protected. If you stop medicating, you’d still be protected for about 8 more hours, before you’re open for HIV contamination.

All these I learned from counselling.

Then it was time for me to do the HIV test. I’d last done my test in February and I was negative. But as the peer educator set about fetching the things needed for my testing, I could feel my heartbeat increase and a suffocating feeling start to fill up my chest. My sexual history began to flash before my eyes as I tried to mentally check if there’d been any time I was reckless. In all the sexcapades I’d had, both conventional and freakish, had I taken any risks that might lead right now to my life changing forever? It was such a stressful period, and even after the test was done, I strived to keep the turmoil hidden behind laughter and conversation between me and my cousin, who’d accompanied me to the clinic.

Thirty minutes after the test, I was called in to a doctor’s office for the result. The doctor was young, sweet-natured, jovial with a healthy sense of humour. For a few minutes, he chatted with me about this and that, not telling me anything about my result. If his intention had been to get me to relax though, it wasn’t working. Instead, my mind began torturing me with the thought that he was being this genial to prepare me for bad news. And then he told me I was negative and I heaved a sigh of relief.

He moved on to a physical exam. Told me to drop my pants and bend over. With the stress of knowing my HIV status now out of the way, I was able to entertain naughty thoughts about being asked to strip and bend down before my doctor. I mean, that’s a pornhub scene right there. I’m not self-conscious about nudity, and as I stood, bent over before him and felt him prod my anal area for warts, I half-hoped he’d be less professional and more sensual with his examination.

To my utmost disappointment, he remained professional till the end of his examination. Verdict: I didn’t have warts either.

From there, I was sent to the Pharmacy where PrEP was handed to me, along with instructions on dosage. I was also told the common side effects of PrEP, which include nausea, tiredness and some headache. (The first few days after I started on the medication, I experienced nausea and tiredness.) I was told that it’d be advisable for me, as a working person, to start the medication on Friday, so that I can use the weekend to weather the worst of the side effects. The occurrence and severity of the side effects however are dependent on the immune system of the person taking the drugs.

Ans so, as I left Population Council that afternoon, medication, condoms and lubes stacked in my backpack, I felt curiously like I’d just acquired a new lease on life.

Written by Queen Blue Fox

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25 Comments

  1. Bhawscity
    December 01, 06:59 Reply

    Two things humbles Nigerians:
    A) Being at foreign Embassy on time AND
    B) Waiting for HIV test results.
    I have never seen us more humble than when we are going for these two things.

  2. Dimkpa
    December 01, 08:56 Reply

    Glad to know you’re on PrEP. If more of us are on it, then transmission could someday be stopped.

    I think that doctor was wrong in his approach to telling you about your test results. He should have told you straight away and not engage in small talk, thereby prolonging your anxiety. In that situation, no conversation would calm you down. It is only the result that would do that. The wait while the test is carried out is long enough.

    I’m not sure how accurate the info you got on taking PrEP is. Here’s a link to what I think is more correct.
    https://www.iwantprepnow.co.uk/how-to-take-prep/

    Have a good weekend!

    • Bhawscity
      December 01, 09:05 Reply

      They usually engage in talks before telling you test results.

    • Francis
      December 01, 18:00 Reply

      Na this one I dey familiar with. Takes 7 days for protection to kick in

  3. Gabby
    December 01, 10:06 Reply

    Dear pink panther, would it be possible you put up a list of LGBT friendly clinics in Nigeria(all state) in order to commemorate today (world AIDS day)

    • Pink Panther
      December 01, 10:31 Reply

      I’ll try and make that information available. Thanks for suggesting this.

    • Alamu
      December 01, 15:55 Reply

      I don’t know how I feel about this.
      I think you can email PP to get whatever you need.
      Putting those clinics out there might be harmful, this is Nigeria and human beings can be vindictive.

      Imagine this headline:
      “Clinic turns Gay meet up/hook up centre” or whatever.
      I’m not a writer, so pardon my uncreativeness.

      These clinics attend to the general public, Yes, but a higher percentage of their patients are members of the community who want to feel safe and at the same time comfortable about discussing their issues.

      • Francis
        December 01, 18:03 Reply

        I’ve been unseated. 😂😂😂😂😂

        You’re right sha👍

  4. Alamu
    December 01, 10:15 Reply

    It’s good you are on PrEP, but remember that it is suppose to prevent the user from contacting HIV only, it doesn’t protect from other STDs.
    I think it’s best to use condoms because there was this time I was at the doctor’s and overhead him giving instructions to another worker at the hospital, telling him about a patient that needed to be taken off the drug because it was messing with his system and he was fine for months after he had been taking his drugs.

    In my opinion, if you don’t need a daily drug to combat or suppress the progression of a disease or condition(basically staying alive and healthy longer) use condoms instead. You’re practically flooding your system with an “unnecessary” drug.
    Our Bodies work differently, so it might be fine for you.

    I take a particular drug daily and trust me, it isn’t easy, at all. What keeps me is the “if I don’t take this, I will die and my mom would probably follow after and I don’t want that”.
    I have an alarm particularly for that reason, that reads “Do the needful”.
    Don’t put yourself through that when there’s an easier and even more reliable method to be safe.

    • Keredim
      December 01, 10:24 Reply

      “In my opinion, if you don’t need a daily drug to combat or suppress the progression of a disease or condition(basically staying alive and healthy longer) use condoms instead. You’re practically flooding your system with an “unnecessary” drug.”

      GBAM!!!!!

      My thoughts exactly!

  5. Keredim
    December 01, 10:19 Reply

    QBF,

    It is rare to hear proponents of PrEP mention explicitly it’s use in conjunction with condoms or as a back up incase of slip ups. Most advocates talk about it in isolation as if other STDs don’t exist.

    As a result, yes HIV infections have gone down, but other superbug STD infections are on the rise.

    Thanks for this.
    👍🏿👍🏿👍🏿

    • Justme
      December 02, 20:26 Reply

      Well said. Condoms fail, yes but so does PrEP albeit rarely – so far. Im no doctor nor am I the morality police, however I believe that PrEP is lulling is all into a false sense of security so we can fuck our brains out with wanton abandon all the while inflicting more psychological damage to our community.

  6. Kenny
    December 01, 12:41 Reply

    Can you please help me with LGBT friendly clienics around Lagos and address. I think i need to visit one.

  7. Bloom
    December 01, 20:30 Reply

    Ha! No body asked me to strip oh
    I feel cheated!!

  8. Dimkpa
    December 02, 12:11 Reply

    I think we should put things in perspective. Yes, PrEP doesn’t stop other STIs but I have never heard anyone who contracted HIV say ‘I’m glad it is HIV I got and not another STI’. HIV is no longer a killer but it is still quite emotive and somewhat life defining.

    A past Mr Gay UK told the story of how he contracted HIV while shunning PrEP because he felt that users were promiscuous. I know how it feels to be anxious following a hook up because of the fear of contracting HIV even after using condoms. Condoms can break or be forgotten in the heat of the moment. People still get raped. Condoms have been around for ages but that did not reduce HIV transmission partly because humans. The only thing that has done this is PrEP and I think we should all embrace it. Let’s remove morality from this and face reality.

    And as for saying it is unnecessary and
    a poison, many people take all sorts of medication for all sorts of ailments everyday. Some take up to 10 or twenty a sat, why has no one decried it as poisoning?
    Why is PrEP being singled out for this particular criticism. It is a safe drug except for the few people it affects their kidneys like some antihypertensives also do but people still take them. Many people, millions maybe who already take the medication and they’re all well.

    I have been on it for a while now and I am glad I’m on it because it gives me great peace of mind. I don’t worry about HIV tests anymore and if I do get any other STI, I know it will be cleared by antibiotics and I won’t have to live with the consequence of a mistake for the rest of my life.

    • Alamu
      December 02, 16:39 Reply

      You know the possibility of a condom used correctly, worn correctly and kept in the right place/condition breaking is really low, but yes, condoms break.

      Condoms have not reduced HIV transmission because many people DO NOT use it or use it the wrong way.
      We both know many people say sex isn’t as “sweet” with condoms, so they’d rather not use it cos they want the skin to skin feel.

      And I’m sure you’re aware of certain cases where PrEP failed, my doctor was explaining something about diseases, HIV in Nigeria is somewhat different from the strain in South Africa, Kenya, Europe, Asia etc, so they advise HIV patients to use condoms always, so you don’t get a different strain that your ARV can’t handle, and the Key ingredient in PrEP is one of the ingredients in ARVs, so if that can happen, what makes you think that the PrEP can’t fail you?

      If you read what I wrote correctly, I said unnecessary not poisonous and I did not reduce its value or importantance either, just stated that there was a safer and more reliable alternative.

      I mentioned that our bodies are different, so people react differently to the drug short or long term.

      Your concluding statement is a bit confusing tho and in my opinion, highly insensitive.
      You know HIV isn’t the only std without a cure, right?

    • Justme
      December 02, 19:01 Reply

      Can Herpes be cured with antibiotics?

      • Wonda Buoy
        December 02, 22:35 Reply

        No. It can only be managed with antivirals because HSV is the virus’ name.

        • Justme
          December 03, 16:53 Reply

          So clearly not every STI can be “cleared by antibiotics”. 🙄

  9. Daffodil
    December 03, 10:47 Reply

    does anyone know of a tb clinic in Port Harcourt?

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