Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tiny Explosion of Panic

I ovulated last week and we had condom-less sex in hopes of conceiving. We've done this before, but this time it was different.

This time, I wasn't on PrEP!

It has taken us years to get to this point, and we both felt very comfortable with this decision. The last time I thought I could go through with condom-less sex, it ended up that I couldn't. As I mentioned before, I am starting to trust the science about how low my risk is because he has an undetectable viral load.

Of course, I gotta be honest, there have been a few times when the thought crossed my mind..."What if I got HIV from him?" Its weird when that happens. It feels like a tiny explosion of panic. Like when you're driving somewhere and you realize you forgot something important back at home. And you gasp, and you don't exhale for a while. And for that moment that you can't breathe...you come to terms with it. You either decide to go back for what you forgot, or you keep driving and decide to do without. So, when the panic hits me. I just push the thought away.  Its probably not the healthiest way to cope with the anxiety, but I know it will pass so I just push the mental "Next Track" button in my mind.

There has been enough negative energy given to the subject and stigma of HIV in my life. For now...for today, I don't want to give it anymore negative energy. So, I just dismiss it. I may feel different tomorrow.

For now, I trust the science, and that's enough for me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Seeking Individuals!

The Midwest HIV Prevention and Pregnancy Planning Initiative is  seeking folks who are HIV-positive or negative, of reproductive age, and racially and ethnically diverse to illustrate effective conversations, on film, between medical providers and patients about pregnancy desires. 

Scenarios will include:
  • Woman living with HIV who expresses ambivalence about having a baby
  • Woman living with HIV who wants contraception
  • HIV-negative woman with HIV-positive male partner who don’t want a baby
  • HIV-negative woman with HIV-positive male partner in a safer conception visit 
  • Straight man living with HIV being screened in HIV primary care setting for his reproductive desires

Know someone who would be a good for one of these videos? Please email Pamela Tassin at PTassin@aidschicago.org with recommendations or for more information.  Volunteers will receive a $50 Amazon gift card as a thank you for their time. Filming will take place on January 21 in Chicago. 


Friday, January 1, 2016

I think I trust the Science now

Well, our move to Chicago hasn't been as smooth as I thought it would be. I underestimated the difficulty of the transition, but neither of us regret it...its just been harder than we thought.

My hubby has found a clinic to receive HIV related care...its an hour away.  The doctors run about an hour late on their appointments, and it takes all day to get back home with traffic, but its the best in the area so we're doing what needs to be done to make sure he gets to his appointments. He remains undetectable and in excellent health, and I thank my lucky stars for that.

His psoriasis is worse than ever, and his doctor is working with him on a self-injection to treat it. It will suppress his immune system to use the injection, but his psoriasis is so severe that it needs severe treatment. I don't know if others out there find that psoriasis is an unwanted side effect of the HIV meds, but it has been a thorn in my husband's side since he was on Combiver and Viramune. Has only gotten worse over the years.

We haven't attempted to have unprotected timed intercourse to conceive since we've been here in Chicagoland, but we are talking about trying again since things are feeling a tiny bit settled. I have the worst baby fever ever...all day long I look around at all the babies and I swear its like a part of me...something deep deep down inside is screaming, and clawing and scratching to get out. Its choking me. Its relentless and its painful. Its such a weird phenomenon.

I am not taking Truvada (PrEP) anymore. I haven't been to a doctor yet. There is a PrEP clinic here, where my husband receives care, but guess what? Because he is undetectable, and has been for many years, I'm not considered at high risk of contracting HIV, and therefore not eligible to get on PrEP! I know I could really insist, especially if I pushed on wanting to use it for conception, but I don't think I feel that strongly about it anymore.

I think I trust the science now. I think I have let go of some of that fear that was instilled in those of us who lived through the early years of HIV and AIDS. I think.

Last time I thought I could try to conceive without PrEP, and have unprotected sex, I actually couldn't go through with it. But this time, I think I can. I'll keep you updated.  In the meantime, here's a picture of us enjoying the lovely cold and snowy weather!