PrEP has empowered countless Coloradans to take control of their health and help end HIV stigma. Many people have offered to share their own experiences about deciding to get on PrEP and how it has changed their lives and communities.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Kimberly Ramirez Garcia. I am 31 years old and work as a Certified Nursing Assistant. I am originally from Mexico but I have been living in Colorado for about 12 years. I enjoy spending time with my family, shopping, and going out dancing. I am a part of the transgender and gay Latino communities.
Do you know a lot of people in your community who currently take PrEP to prevent HIV?
I know zero people in the local transgender community that are taking PrEP at the moment. My drive to be in this campaign is to increase the awareness within this group. It’s not talked about enough. I want to talk about it, especially in the transgender community. There is a lack of information and knowledge about PrEP that is having a negative impact on what people think about the medication and the program.
What impact has PrEP had on you personally as a transgender woman?
I started my transformation about 8 years ago. The first time I transformed, all my friends helped me, and what I saw in the mirror reflected my own personality and who I actually was inside.
Deciding to transform is a hard decision because you are going to have to overcome a lot of barriers both internally and externally. The transformation has so many different phases. You go through a lot to become the transgender that you want to be. You don’t always feel accepted.
PrEP is a way to respect my body and health. I have spent so many years and put so much energy transforming, so I need to do everything I can to ensure that all I’ve worked for and all I’ve been through won’t be taken away from me.
How has your experience with PrEP been so far?
I have been on PrEP for 7 months. I have had absolutely no reactions or issues taking PrEP with my hormone treatment. A health provider manages my hormone treatment. I told both my doctors, the one who prescribed me the hormones and the one who prescribed me PrEP, that I was taking both hormones and PrEP, and there were no objections. In fact, they were in support of me taking both medications.
I take PrEP to protect who I am now, and to continue living the life I’ve created for myself and always wanted. I am a transgender Latina and I’m Proud to be PrEPPED.