Being black and being trans we are disproportionately affected, and I think that because it goes so under the radar and it’s not spoken about enough, we suffer exponentially.
Last year, three of my friends died from HIV-related complications I had a deep connection to them, I felt there was a need to speak about that.
They made a conscious decision not to take the medication because of the stigma around being HIV positive, taking the medication, you know, stigma plays a big part with people, and I think that with them they allowed it to control their life, period. Snuffed them out.
When I decided to transition, I ran off. I had had as much as I could take.
I was looking for jobs, I was trying to get hired, I was doing as much as I could. It was a dead-end, so just, you know, I decided to do what I had to do. It was a dead end. I did what I had to do.
I started escorting as a homeless person. There wasn’t always condoms available. I went to jail a couple times and upon getting out of jail I decided something needed to change
I started going to a testing site that was basically kind of like a drop-in center for LGBT youth and I started asking them well, what is this, what is that, what is PrEP.
PrEP is the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, it protects you from HIV. It doesn’t protect from other STIs of course, but it keeps you from having to get HIV.
The reason why I decided to get on PrEP is because I know that alcohol makes me less than stellar [laughs] and I know that, you know, certain situations I don’t think about safe sex. Certain situations I don’t think about wrapping it up and making sure that everybody’s protected.
But you know what I’m saying, with that backup it’s just one more tool in my arsenal to be able to—or one more shield, you know?
I am slowing building myself up and that feels amazing.
Phoebe talks about being Black and transgender. When she found out about PrEP, it allowed her to take control of her own health. Now she is using her voice to educate others about this HIV prevention tool.
For those who do not have HIV, PrEP offers another powerful means of protection. When taken as prescribed, this daily pill is highly effective in protecting against HIV.