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Posts for December, 2015

Holly Woodlawn, rest in peace

Timothy Kincaid

December 7th, 2015

Andy Warhol transvestite Superstar Holly Woodlawn, acclaimed for her performance in 'Trash', photographed in 1970. (Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images)

Andy Warhol transvestite Superstar Holly Woodlawn, acclaimed for her performance in ‘Trash’, photographed in 1970. (Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images)

Holly came from Miami, F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She says, “Hey, babe,
Take a walk on the wild side.”
Said, “Hey, honey,
Take a walk on the wild side.”

At 15, Haroldo Danhakl left Miami and headed to the Big Apple, where Haroldo became Holly Woodlawn. A street kid, Holly turned tricks and did whatever she had to do to survive.

In the late 60’s, Holly fell into a group along the periphery of Andy Warhol’s world and eventually caught the notice of Warhol’s film director Paul Morrissey and costarred in the 1970 film Trash. Despite critical acclaim for her role, it did not lead to more mainstream work. Although immortalized in Lou Reed’s 1972 song, Woodlawn’s entertainment career was sketchy and mostly underground theater.

Yesterday Holly passed away. (NY Times)

Holly Woodlawn, a transgender actress who achieved underground stardom with her affecting performance as a starry-eyed down-and-outer in the 1970 film “Trash,” died on Sunday in Los Angeles. She was 69.

The cause was complictions of cancer, her manager, Robert Coddington, said.

Getting Prep, Step Two

Timothy Kincaid

December 6th, 2015

truvadaSince late October I have been trying to get a prescription for Truvada to be used as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent the possible contraction of HIV. It has not been an easy process and has involved being dumped by my primary physician and a complicated search for a replacement.

But finally I found care through APLA’s Gleicher / Chen Health Center and two weeks ago I went in for a series of tests, both general health and sexual health. On Thursday I returned for my results.

I was happy (though not very surprised) to learn that I did not test positive for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or syphilis. Blood pressure was fine. My triglycerides are just slightly high, but so is my “good” cholesterol. In general, I’m a healthy man.

Except one test wasn’t present. Although the clinic had requested the usual full analysis, the lab hadn’t run the tests necessary to evaluate my liver. And testing liver function is absolutely necessary to issuing a prescription for PrEP.

So the wait goes on.

On Monday, I’ll take the trip back to the clinic to draw more blood. And at some point on Tuesday I should know whether my liver is functioning properly and, assuming that all is well, I should be able to start the program.

Planned Parenthood WeHo to offer PrEP

Timothy Kincaid

December 6th, 2015

Planned Parenthood is an organization that can be, at times, politically polarizing. Depending on where one gets their news, they may think of Planned Parenthood as either an abortion mill selling baby parts or a necessary provider of women’s reproductive health in underprivileged communities. But in some areas they are becoming something unexpected: an access point for pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP and PEP). (scpr)

Planned Parenthood Los Angeles says it will begin offering two powerful anti-HIV drugs at its clinics next year. The effort will begin at the group’s newest health center in West Hollywood, which opened Tuesday.

The reproductive health provider joins 27 public and private health care clinics across the county in providing one or both of these medications to those most at risk of contracting HIV, according to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health.

I don’t know how accurate their count is, but if there are only 27 clinics across the country providing PrEP or PEP, then Planned Parenthood’s participation is not only welcome, it’s essential. There are roughly 4.8 million gay or bisexual men in the country and the Centers for Disease Control recommends that a quarter of them, 1.2 million men, be on PrEP. There is no way that this goal is achievable through 27 clinics. [As a reader noted, it’s County not Country. Duh!! Shouldn’t have missed that. But still 27 is far too few for the more than 100,000 gay/bisexual men in LA County.]

Planned Parenthood offers a sliding scale, which will be of relief to younger gay men who may be uninsured. THey are starting with their clinic in West Hollywood but expect all 20 of their clinics in Los Angeles to provide PrEP and PEP by the end of 2016. Let’s hope that soon spreads to areas in which access may be even less available.

Australian gay men form a ‘Dallas buyers club’ for getting PrEP

Timothy Kincaid

December 1st, 2015

As in every nation in the world other than the US (and soon France), Truvada has not been approved in Australia for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Thus it is not covered through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and must be paid out of pocket, a cost of about $1,200 per month.

However, there are a number of pharmacies in India that make a generic version of Truvada (for example Cipla makes and sells Tenver-EM) and a group of gay Australian men have decided not to wait for official government approval. They are going through a pharmacy in Africa to get the generic version of PrEP. (SMH)

To get around this, a group of men have started a website called “PreP access now” to help people order cheaper generic versions of the drug from multiple online sources, including Africa for about $60 a month.

One of its founders, Steve Spencer, said dozens had ordered the drug with the group’s help since it began in the middle of the year. It is now offering free orders for people who cannot afford the $60 monthly fee because the African pharmacy offers one free order for every two made.

“A bunch of us gay men who saw nothing happening said ‘stuff it’ we’re going to come together and make a change,” he said. “Our numbers are increasing every day, but it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure the health of Australians, and… to ensure equal and easy access to PrEP if we want to end new HIV infections in Australia.”

I find this a bit concerning. While Cipla and other Indian companies have a long track record and their drugs are considered reliable, African pharmacies have less credible reputations. I hope that these guys are having the drugs spot-checked for accuracy.

World AIDS Day

Timothy Kincaid

November 30th, 2015

Red RibbonToday is World AIDS Day, a time to reflect on lives lost and opportunities diminished. It is also a time to look forward to ways to eliminate this human immunodeficiency virus and reclaim the health of not only the LGBT community, but other communities ravaged by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
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France supports PrEP

Timothy Kincaid

November 28th, 2015

One of the fascinating things about the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as a tool for preventing the spread of HIV is that, until this week, the United States alone has supported this measure and encouraged its use.

In the US, costs are covered by all insurers (it’s seen as a preventative measure which will result in lower costs in the long run). Some regions (though certainly not all) have established funds which can take care of those without insurance, and the CDC and other private and/or public health services have committed to finding a way to get anyone who wishes to be on PrEP to be able to acquire the medication. Finally, Gilead (the manufacturer of Truvada) has established programs to cover costs. For many in the US (though certainly not all), the out of pocket cost for being on PrEP is zero.

But if you live in Canada or the UK or Sweden, PrEP is not publically available. There are clinical trials and, should you be fortunate enough to be part of the trial, your costs are covered. But otherwise, the cost is born entirely by the patient. A Canadian told me recently that he pays about $1,200 per month for his Truvada prescription.

However, this week another nation has committed to this step in the prevention of HIV transmission. (AIDSMap)

In a historic move, France has become the first country outside the USA, and the first country with a centrally-organised, reimbursable health system, to approve no-expense pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for people who need it.

The French Minister of Health, Marisol Touraine, announced today that PrEP would be available from mid-December, and reimbursable through the French health system from the beginning of January.

In addition to the daily regimen procedure, France will also support incident based prevention (two pills two hours before sex and one pill each of the next two days).

Cyprus votes for civil unions

Timothy Kincaid

November 28th, 2015

cyprusCyprus is an island in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Turkey and Lebanon. Traditionally ethnically and religiously Greek, it is the easternmost part of the European Union. The nation of about one million people has a democratic government, which is currently controlled by a pro-West party. (About 17% of the population is Turkish, but they consider themselves a separate nation and do not participate in Cyprus’ legislature).

Cypriots tend to be religious and the Orthodox Church (Greek) has significant sway on the community. But while the Church – and the population – is socially conservative, inclusion in the European Union appears at this time to be an economic necessity. And European courts and political entities have stressed the importance of recognition of same-sex couples.

On Thursday, the Cyprus House of Representatives voted to allow civil unions, with all the rights (other than adoption) granted to married couples. (kaleidoscot.com)

The Cypriot parliament has voted in favour of the Civil Partnership Bill, meaning that same-sex unions will be legally recognised in the Mediterranean republic for the first time.

The House of Representatives voted by 39 to 12 in favour of extending same-sex couples in civil partnerships the same legal rights as civil marriage. However, join adoption rights were not included in the new civil union legislation.

CDC: not enough doctors are prescribing PrEP

Timothy Kincaid

November 25th, 2015

As I have discussed in a series of articles, obtaining pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV is not simply a matter of asking your physician. Depending on your health insurance, it may be extremely difficult to get a prescription for Truvada, the medication that with proper use prevents HIV infection. For example, for the 10 million residents of Los Angeles County, there is only one clinic that provides PrEP and accepts Blue Shield HMO coverage.

It would appear that this scarcity is not limited to Los Angeles, and this concerns the Centers for Disease Control. (http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2015/vital-signs-prep-press-release.html)

“PrEP isn’t reaching many people who could benefit from it, and many providers remain unaware of its promise,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “With about 40,000 HIV infections newly diagnosed each year in the U.S., we need to use all available prevention strategies.”

“PrEP has the potential to dramatically reduce new HIV infections in the nation,” says Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “However, PrEP only works if patients know about it, have access to it, and take it as prescribed.”

The CDC is now recommending that about 25% of gay men take PrEP, based on a number of criteria. It has awarded about $216 million to organizations that are targeting at risk communities.

NYC aggressively attacks HIV using PrEP and PEP

Timothy Kincaid

November 25th, 2015

There are about 3,000 new diagnoses of HIV infection each year in New York City. And the City has decided that this is far too much. (Gay City News)

The plan, which was first proposed by leading AIDS groups in 2014, relies largely on using anti-HIV drugs in HIV-positive and HIV-negative people to reduce the number of new HIV infections in New York State from the current roughly 3,000 a year to 750 annually by 2020.

The tools are there. With pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis, along with antiretroviral medication for HIV positive persons, the transmission of the virus is preventable. Even in the heat of the moment. Even if drugs or alcohol are impeding rational decision making. Even if a condom breaks.

Moving on the Plan to End AIDS, the City Council will spend $6.6 million to fund pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis programs and efforts to aid people with HIV in staying on anti-HIV drugs so they remain non-infectious.

While $6.6 million is a large number, it is nearly negligible in the City’s budget. And if this allocation can cut HIV transmissions by three-quarters in five years, it is an investment that is well spent.

DeMaio’s accuser sentenced

Timothy Kincaid

November 23rd, 2015

bosnichIn the final weeks of the 2014 election, the battle between incumbent Scott Peters (D) and gay challenger Carl DeMaio (R) was intense. DeMaio’s chances looked promising, until nasty accusations began to fly.

A story was leaked about a former staff member, Todd Bosnich, a straight man who was allegedly sexually assaulted by DeMaio. Although DeMaio denied any impropriety and insisted that Bosnich was fired for plagiarizing, local media seemed to buy into the ‘gay men are sexual predators’ stereotype, and their bias bled through in news reports.

In the last week of the campaign, Bosnich produced an email which he said had been sent to him anonymously but which he thought was from DeMaio. It made threats that Bosnich would never again work in politics and implied that DeMaio would buy his silence. This appeared to be the smoking gun that Peters’ camp needed. When Bosnich gave Peters’ campaign the email, they “took it to the police” (after a little trip to the local media).

It seemed proven now that DeMaio was a liar and a predator and he lost the election by 3% of the vote.

But while the email may have been the item that convinced the public that DeMaio was lying, it was also Bosnich’s error. This was a tangible item and, as such, had a traceable history.

Further, the threats implied in the email were sufficient for San Diego Police to turn the email over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which opened an investigation into the matter. Had DeMaio made threats of this nature, it could have been a serious issue.

Throughout the investigation, Bosnich insisted that he had received the email anonymously and that anonymous emails were a common means that DeMaio used to attack political threats. But when he was finally confronted with evidence, Bosnich admitted that the email was created by himself and sent to himself in order to give the appearance that DeMaio was threatening him.

Federal prosecutors brought Bosnich up on charges of obstruction of justice and he admitted his guilt. He has now been sentenced.

A former aide to Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio was sentenced to five years of probation Monday for using a phony email account to make it appear DeMaio or one of his associates threatened him.

While he avoided jail time, Todd Bosnich will also have to complete 240 hours community service, to take part in a mental health treatment program and to pay a $2,500 fine.

Bosnich will have this felony on his record for the rest of his life and will never again work in politics. DeMaio lost an election over false accusations. The voters were unduly influence and voted based on information that wasn’t true. Peters (who responded to the admission of fakery in the nastiest way possible) now has a tarnished reputation. And yet again, it has been proven that accusations against gay men are believed true until proven otherwise.

There are no winners here.

Sadly, I suspect this is a model that we will see used again against gay candidates. The stakes are high, and probation seems a low price for slandering a candidate enough to throw an election.

No, Syrian refugees are not a gay issue

Timothy Kincaid

November 23rd, 2015

It seems to me that sometimes gay activists confuse causes, assuming that their worldview is the only valid perspective that can be held by a gay person and thus that any cause they support is a gay cause. And those who disagree can be immediately and vehemently denounced as self-loathing homocons and quislings, worthy of derision and scorn.

But not all gay people have the same experiences, perspectives, or lifestyles. And competing interests or different values are not resolved by a shared sexual orientation.

We may see disputes over resource allocations or military action without demanding uniformity or laying charges of homophobia. But when it comes to social issues, there is often a presumption that all gay people must lean left and that failure to do so is betrayal of the gay community.

This is irrational. There is no logical basis for demanding conformity among the gay community on issues that do not have a direct or largely disproportionate impact on gay people.

Abortion is not a gay issue. Immigration is not a gay issue. Gun control is not a gay issue.

There are within each of these areas some arguments that speak to the community. Asylum based on sexual orientation, for example, is highly relevant and specific to the community. And as we get closer to identifying genetic markers for orientation, we may find ourselves facing difficult questions about abortion.

But, as a matter of belief and policy, there is nothing about orientation that dictates ideology. And gay=liberal is a false narrative that not only leads to disappointment for activists, but does a disservice to the roughly one-quarter of gay citizens who hold more conservative positions. (And I suspect that for some of the more vocal activists, the number of LGBT persons in disagreement soars to large majorities.)

To get around this fallacy, they propose another: that because some gay people are impacted by a policy, then therefore their response is the gay response and any other position is homophobia.

Because some immigrants are gay, we must support open borders. Because some gay people are coal miners, we must support a strike. Because some gay people are Palestinian, we must oppose the state of Israel.

What never is mentioned is that gay people are also on the other side of those issues.

Yes, some immigrants are gay, but so are some of the existing residents of nations. Some gay people are coal miners, and some are customers or in management. Some gay people are Palestinian, and some are Israeli.

Obviously, some gay people are impacted positively or negatively whichever way a policy goes and championing one position does not make it any more the gay position than championing its competitor. And it is dishonest to see gay people only on one side and not the other.

Further, we should understand that these efforts can serve as a disservice to our community. They are not steps to protect gay people or to advance our common cause. Rather they are an exploitation of our community, an effort to harness our connections or our political power and employ it for a cause that does not serve all gay people equally.

In the worst of instances, it’s cynicism and self-serving. Activists who can “deliver votes” from their community gain power, influence, and financial advantage. If an activist can turn out gay support, it may be far more advantageous to them personally than to the gay people they claim to represent.

But irrespective of motivation, activists employ it far too frequently. And the latest example, a rather extreme one, comes from Michelangelo Signorelli.

On Friday, the House of Representatives voted to slow the President’s plan of resettling in the United States 10,000 Syrian immigrants fleeing the regime of President Bashar Hafez al-Assad or life under ISIS.

The House vote on the Syrian resettlement program, passing 289-137, reflects shifting sentiment on an issue where emotions have run deep in the aftermath of a deadly terror in Paris last week which left 129 dead. The House bill would require the FBI to create a background check of any refugee who spent time in Syria or Iraq after March 1, 2011.

The measure also called for the heads of the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and National Intelligence to personally vouch that those admitted aren’t a threat, a requirement the White House in its earlier vow to veto the measure called “untenable.”

Among the 25% of House Democrats who voted for the bill were three members of LGBT Caucus: U.S. Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)

In statements released, the lawmakers indicated differing levels of concern, but mostly took positions that were not in opposition to immigration but rather focused on the assurance provided by greater scrutiny.

“Our nation has long stood as a beacon of freedom, but after the events of the last few weeks some leaders have given into fear and turned their backs on refugees,” said Maloney in a statement he released after the vote. “These actions are reprehensible, and present a false choice between our values and our security. It’s understandable that people are scared, and Americans have a right to know that the process we use to screen refugees will keep us safe. I have faith in our system, and I don’t believe these refugees — the overwhelming majority of whom are women, elderly, and children — threaten our communities or national security. So instead of slowing the program or pausing it, the administration should agree to immediately certify refugees if they pass the current extensive screenings and we should all refocus on actual threats.”

But this response has been deemed entirely unacceptable by Michelangelo Signorelli.

Totally shameful and Victory Fund & Institute should dump them just as it doesn’t accept anti-choice, racist candidates even if they’re LGBT. Equality should be litmus test of anyone in “LGBT Equality Caucus” in Congress. And realize that these individuals voted against desperate LGBT Syrian refugees — there was hope 500 of the refugee spaces would be set aside for them. Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema is the worst: She was actually an attorney for an Iraqi refugee in ’07, arguing that his vetting was taking too long, over 2 years, discriminated against based on his nationality. Now she votes this way. She’s a total fraud. We don’t need these people folks. Let’s get pro-LGBT, real progressives (on all the issues), gay or straight, in office.

To Signorelli, because “equality” means accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country without personal assurances from the heads of the FBI and Homeland Security that each immigrant has been vetted, this is a gay issue. It’s a litmus test issue which Victory Fund should use to determine whether gay candidates receive support.

That is absurd.

The majority of Americans, perhaps as many as three-quarters, are skeptical about the government’s process of review when it comes to controlling access to the country. And this cannot be simply written off as religious bias – all polls show a vast majority of citizens think that any refugees accepted should not be given preference based on their religious faith, that Christians and Muslims should have the same access.

And among that large majority of Americans who are concerned about possible terrorists infiltrating the refugees are gay people. Real living breathing gay people. And some of them are Democrats and progressives.

But but but there are “desperate LGBT Syrian refugees” so this is a gay issue!

And Equality California has jumped on board.

“Last week’s vote was a victory for ignorance and fear. We are deeply disappointed that the list of ‘ayes’ included members of California’s congressional delegation, including members who have been champions of LGBT civil rights, and several LGBT members of Congress outside of California.

Among the millions of Syrians fleeing their country in fear for their lives are thousands of LGBT people, who face even harsher cruelties if they were to stay than the others, who are fleeing already unspeakable atrocities.

See, it’s a gay issue!!

No. The resettlement of Syrians fleeing the Assad regime or ISIS is not a gay issue. Even if some of the refugees are LGBT.

Though no doubt some here will disagree with me, I do not see this issue as a simple matter.

On the one hand it seems callous and selfish not to come to the aid of a fellow human in distress. On the other, our government has not shown itself to be singularly skilled in detecting and preventing threats. And some, including members of the LGBT Caucus, wish to help those in need but do not find it unreasonable to expect that each refugee be vetted so as to weed out someone who might shoot up a shopping mall or bomb a restaurant.

So how do we respond to those like Signorelli and EQCA who seek to co-opt the gay community for their position?

First, we should look at this in perspective.

At a dinner I attended last year, Equality California announced that would be shifting some of their focus from gay issues to more general progressive issues such as opposing barriers to immigration and seeking greater power for labor unions. Seen from that perspective, EQCA has narrowed their voice from a representative of gay Californians to speak only for the progressive segment of the gay community.

And Signorelli has clearly illustrated that his greater loyalty is “real progressives (on all the issues)” rather than to inclusion of gays and lesbians among the people’s representatives. As is his right.

Or yours. You have every right to think that only one position is reasonable or humane or just.

You just can’t claim that you speak for all gay people or even that gay people should agree with you because they are gay.

Victory Fund was correct in dismissing Signorelli’s demands. Their purpose is to support the campaigns of LGBT candidates for public office, not advance progressive policies. They are non-partisan and do not base their support criteria on how whether an individual office seeker is in complete agreement with Michelangelo Signorelli, or any other activist.

And policies around the resettlement of Syrian refugees are not a gay issue.

Getting PrEP: Step One

Timothy Kincaid

November 20th, 2015

truvadaAfter several weeks of effort, I was able to find a doctor within the Blue Shield HMO plan who prescribes Truvada as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, PrEP. The source of my primary care is now through APLA Health and Wellness at the Gleicher / Chen Health Center in Baldwin Hills.

This feels a bit ironic to me. For years I’ve sporadically supported AIDS Project Los Angeles. I’ve participated in the AIDS Walk from time to time and contributed to various programs but they weren’t particularly applicable to my life. They were just a “good organization” with whom I didn’t much interact.

Thursday evening was my first appointment. There was almost no one in the waiting room and the staff was more than pleasant. The employees seemed to be genuinely enjoying their work and their interaction with patients. The office, which is only a year old, was spotless, well lighted, and comfortable.

I didn’t see my doctor yesterday.

Before Truvada is prescribed, a series of tests needs to be run. There was blood work taken for two HIV tests (one which identifies more recent exposure), a liver test, as well as the usual lab work. Urine and swab samples were taken to indentify any sexually transmitted infections. And, of course, there were questions about recent sexual history and practices.

The nurse-practitioner was friendly, informative, and willing to answer questions. She was aware that some personal questions are uncomfortable and made the process feel professional rather than invasive.

We discussed the changes in care and protection over the years and the hopes for the future. Although we both celebrated the changes we’ve seen, she expressed concern about how a younger generation sees HIV like it sees diabetes, not terribly serious. A long time AIDS care provider and community advocate who has lost many friends to the disease, she’s disappointed that more people are not availing themselves of PrEP. I share that feeling.

But now I wait.

In two weeks I will return for my results and, if everything is proper, I’ll get my prescription and join the ranks of those who are proactively protecting themselves from the HIV virus.

Utah judge orders lesbian couple to give up child

Timothy Kincaid

November 11th, 2015

Direct to you from the 1990’s comes a 2015 judge’s idiotic ruling (Salt Lake Tribune)

A Carbon County judge has ordered a lesbian couple from Price to give up a child they have cared for as foster parents, declaring the infant would be better off with heterosexual parents.

April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce, who are legally married, told KUTV the order from 6th District Court Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen was issued Tuesday.

The Utah Division of Child and Family Services now has seven days to remove the child from Hoagland and Peirce’s Price home.

This ruling has roughly zero chance of withstanding appeal. And the Division of Child and Family Services is looking into appealing this judge’s decision.

As for his thinking,

An attorney who represents the child’s biological mother, whose parental rights are being terminated by the state, told KUTV that Johansen said his decision was based on research that found children reared in same-sex households do not fare was well as those raised in heterosexual households.

A copy of the order was not publicly available Wednesday, but a court spokeswoman did confirm its contents.

It will be interesting to find out whether that judge will provide his “sources” for his research. As there are no modern resources in the child advocacy world that support his conclusion, it will prove to be anti-gay religious advocacy on which he’s relying.

Not surprisingly, Judge Scott Johansen got his law degree from Brigham Young University, a private university owned by the Mormon Church.

Continuing the hunt for PrEP

Timothy Kincaid

November 10th, 2015

truvadaIn my last update, I reported that Blue Shield HMO had provided me with the name of five doctors who they thought do prep. So I’ve made some phone calls.

First I eliminated the doctor who practices in Santa Paula, 70 miles away in another county. That’s a bit too far to drive every three months during office hours and I certainly wouldn’t want a primary physician that far away.

Then I called the doctor who doesn’t do PrEP at all; he only does HIV testing. Which I do myself using OraQuick, the at-home testing kit.

Next was the doctor who does do PrEP, but not through my insurance. He only accepts patients with my insurance if they are already HIV positive.

Finally, I called the last number (the two remaining doctors practice together). I was transferred to a voice message of someone who I believe said that he is the PrEP coordinator for APLA.

So there is still some hope that this final contact will come through and I will finally have access to the program.

UPDATED

I heard back from the PrEP coordinator and it turns out that the doctor does take my insurance, administers PrEP, and is accepting new patients. He’s 6 miles away and only about a half-hour drive, so I’ve changed my primary care doctor and have an appointment for next week.

This has not been an easy process. But it has proven to be possible, something I was not sure about for a while.

The PrEP quest continues

Timothy Kincaid

November 7th, 2015

truvadaOn Thursday I shared with you the surprising difficulty of finding a doctor within my health network that will prescribe pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a proactive approach to avoiding HIV infection.

Since then I’ve received help and suggestion from several sources, including in the comments here at BTB. Thank you.

I dropped by the new West Hollywood outpost of the Los Angeles LGBT Center and, though it was after hours, the young man at the desk sought to be helpful. I’m not sure that I was able to adequately explain that I needed to know whether they would honor my insurance or that I needed to find a primary care physician, but he did provide me with the main number of the Center.

I also had a response from a pharmacist who was able to recommend two sources: the LGBT Center, which he warns has a two month waiting list, and an HIV treatment center 25 miles away. Neither of these options seem ideal.

But yesterday I did hear back from Blue Shield. And they were able to provide me with a comprehensive list of all of the doctors in the network who offer PrEP service in the Los Angeles area. There are a grand total of five.

Now I need to see if any of them are willing to add a new patient.

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