Pennsylvania rep Brian Sims boldly discussed his usage of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), the drug which radically reduces the risk of contracting HIV.
Brian, 40, posted an image of a Truvada pill on his Instagram Tuesday, April 23, explaining that he was sharing his story to fight misconceptions.
“PrEP/PEP: Starting this day off smart, proactive, and in control!” he wrote. “Think this is an invite to talk about my sex life? It’s not. Think it’s an invite to shame me or anyone else?”
“Grow up,” he continued. ‘Stigma’ is the thing our enemies want us to be stunted by. It literally kills us. It’s stupid and we control our own fate. No shame in this game. Just Pride.”
Brian received some uplifting feedback after getting candid over about PrEP. “I take care of youth at risk or living with HIV at Chop and appreciate this leadership and mentorship so much!” one follower wrote.
“Visibility matters! Thank you Brian!” another chimed in. This isn’t the first time that Brian has talked about PrEP publicly.
He introduced a bill on Wednesday, April 17, which would require health insurers to cover the costs of PrEP and PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis).
“In my circles, I had learned about PrEP several years ago and know a number of people who [practice] it,” he explained to PLUS. “Almost all of them reported to me that their doctors knew little about PrEP, their friends and family seemed to know even less, and that they often experienced shaming similar to what I imagine women faced who chose to take birth control in its early years.”
He confirmed in that interview that he started taking PrEP earlier this year.
“I’ve grown somewhat used to people making assumptions about my relationships and knew that if I was public about (going on PrEP), I might be able to help combat the stigma where that shaming comes from.”