This interview was conducted in Spanish. The Spanish transcription follows the English translation below. Click here for the audio link (in Spanish) and have a listen.
Folks interested in more English/Spanish PrEP and PrEPception information are invited to visit the PRO Men page of the BAPAC website.
Dr. Pollock: Hi, my name is Dr. Lealah Pollock. I am a family medicine physician in the Family Health Center at San Francisco General Hospital. Today, September 10th, 2014 we are at BAPAC’s offices at the San Francisco General Hospital with Carolina and her baby to talk about her experience using PrEP as part of her comprehensive care. At the San Francisco General Hospital we offer PrEP as part of primary care, comprehensive sexual health care. So, hello Carolina. How are you?
Carolina: Very well Dr. Pollock.
Dr. Pollock: So, to commence. How did you get in touch with the Family Health Center and with BAPAC?
Carolina: I was receiving care at the Castro Mission clinic and asked my physician that I wanted to have a baby. They gave me information about BAPAC and the San Francisco General Hospital. That is how I came here to the hospital to request information. Well, they call me to give me information about PrEP and referred me to the Blue Team (primary care clinic) at the San Francisco General Hospital and I met the staff that helped me, especially you Dr. Pollock, they gave me guidance and more information on how to get pregnant from an HIV positive person.
Dr. Pollock: Very well. And when you told your doctor. Was it the first time that you and your husband asked about getting pregnant?
Carolina: No. I had already asked my doctor at the clinic I used to go to, but they always told me that getting pregnant was impossible. It was here where I found the right answer. You helped me to have that answer.
Dr. Pollock: Had you looked for information before that?
Carolina: Yes. I looked for a lot of information and it was always impossible. They told me that the only way to get pregnant was insemination and that they had to “clean” my husband’s semen. But we did not want that. We wanted to get pregnant in a natural way. It was impossible. Thanks God that I was given the information here and here you have the results.
Dr. Pollock: Good! How did you decide to take PrEP? I remember the first time I met you; your husband’s viral load was still detectable. He did not have an undetectable viral load, and we took some time to talk about PrEP as a possibility. So. Why did you in the end decide to take PrEP
Carolina: I decided to take PrEP because the physicians in this hospital helped my husband’s viral load to become undetectable, so I felt more comfortable. Unfortunately, there are not many women that have the possibility to have all of the information about PrEP, but I feel that in this hospital you have the best physicians that provide the necessary information and that is why I made the decision and thanks God all worked out well.
Dr. Pollock: And thank you, but you were the one that had the strength of asking for information and make the decision of taking PrEP, and having a baby. And the baby is so beautiful…
Dr. Pollock: Did you have any adverse events taking Truvada or PrEP?
Carolina: No, I did not have any adverse event. I think that women should use it as a method. We never know, many people do not want to ask, and yes, you can get pregnant and it is safe. I did not have anything and I am very happy and prepared to have another baby.
Dr. Pollock: Good, in the future. How was the experience with your husband and in your world that knew you were taking PrEP?
Carolina: Well, personally, my life is my life and I make my own decisions and nobody in my family except my husband’s mother, father and few brothers know that he has this disease. It is unnecessary that all of your family know about it if you do not want to. You can make your own decisions, who you share it with. And here, you know that this information is confidential.
Dr. Pollock: True. Did your husband support you to take PrEP?
Carolina: Yes, he supported me since both of us wanted to have a baby. We dreamed with having a baby…and there she is!
Dr. Pollock: Do you have any piece of advice for other women that are planning on taking PrEP or having a baby with an HIV positive partner?
Carolina: Yes, as far as they have health providers that are knowledgeable about it and that can provide them with the necessary information. My advice is that if you can make your own decisions and find a specialist like the ones I have here at the San Francisco General Hospital.
Dr. Pollock: Very well. Thank you to talk to us today and share your experience.
Carolina: Thank you for giving me this information and thanks to the General Hospital because we got what we wanted and without your support it might have not been possible to have this baby that we have today, six months old with adequate weight and healthy.
Click to the next page to read this interview in Spanish. Click here to listen to it.