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Why Aren’t More Trans Women on PrEP?


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Feelings of forced vulnerability and exploitation cycled through my body as I waited for my number to be called at a local HIV testing clinic. I didn’t know what to think of my predicament. I was the girl who always doubled and tripled down on safer sex. I was always the one asking my partners the hard questions about potential sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and condoms and their sexual practices. This time was different.

After my line of questioning and finding out my partner didn’t have any condoms, we continued to make out barely clothed. I thought nothing of it. This was someone I had been dating for a few months, so he wasn’t a stranger and I wasn’t worried about being in such a compromised position. I trusted he wouldn’t take things too far, but I was wrong.

He decided our usual rules didn’t matter, and he forced a quick moment of condomless penetration. My eyes opened wide and I pushed him back with force. I drilled him about details on the last time he had been tested. It had been a while since I asked. When we’d first met, he assured me he got tested regularly every three months—but suddenly the time frame grew to “about six months.” I realized this whole thing had been a horrible lapse in judgment.

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