Hallima Docmanov (they/them), PrEP Clinic Navigator. Photo credit: Graham MacIndoe.
Did you know that Prevention Point Philadelphia offers reproductive health services through our PrEP Clinic? We recently spoke to Clinic Coordinator Kareem Mims about the options we offer to our patients.
“Any PrEP patient who is able to have a baby is offered reproductive health services. We do rapid pregnancy tests and we also offer Plan B, oral birth control, and long-acting Depo-Provera birth control shots. We incentivize people who return for their Depo shots. Anybody can access these services.
Speaking with patients about reproductive health is a very sensitive conversation. We don’t always want to push birth control because maybe that’s not what they’re looking for. We start the conversation off by asking, “Hey, are you using condoms? How many partners are you having sex with? Are you having survival sex or engaging in any other sex work?” If they feel like they are not going to use condoms, then we start looking at birth control. We offer oral birth control, but we encourage Depo because taking daily oral meds can be difficult for our patients. Most of our patients who can have babies are on Depo.
We accompany that conversation with HIV and STI testing. Before we give them birth control meds we offer them all the other tests they need and make sure that they aren’t already pregnant. It’s a very sensitive conversation, but if a person did want to terminate a pregnancy and we didn’t have the medication or it was too late for the medication, one of our PrEP team members would escort them to the procedure and then back to PPP. This hasn’t happened yet, but we do have a plan in place in case it does.
In addition to HIV and hepatitis C, we can treat chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trich [trichomoniasis]. The gonorrhea and chlamydia medications are pretty standard, so we keep them on hand and can give a patient one pack and then get them their own prescription.
My team does really well advocating for patients, and giving patients the space to advocate for themselves.”