13 Jun Meet Our PrEP Community Champions: Denisa
What is your name?
My name is Denisa.
Where are you based?
I live in Lambeth.
Why did you become a community champion?
I researched volunteering roles in my area, to boost my experience as a Health and Social Care student. I am passionate about delivering valid information about sexual and reproductive health to people and becoming a Community Champion will help me to achieve it. I also admire Brook, for the work they have done and continue doing; and believe that the Love Sex Life partnership will improve accessibiity if sexual heatlh services in the area.
Why do you believe it’s important to promote PrEP?
It is important for people to know what their options are regards to sexual health which contributes to overall health and wellbeing of individual and population as a whole. I believe people need to understand that PrEP is like any other medication and does not care about who you are. Through promoting PrEP, we are eliminating the stigma which surrounds HIV and certain groups of people which are widely stigmatised. It is also important to celebrate how far we have come with medicine as such being developed.
How do you think we can challenge the stigma surrounding PrEP?
I believe statistics and research studies are a good way to approach and educate some people. It may be a good way to give them the idea that HIV or other viruses does not determine who you are. We shoud challenge social deetrminants and health inequalities as well. I believe taking an equal and inclusive approach is important when introducing PrEP to people, in order to gain their trust and discuss their health, which for some can be a very personal matter.
What can sexual health services do to make sure that underrepresented communities are able to access PrEP?
Use co-production in order to improve services. By engaging those residents who have problems accessing services or need further education about the topic, in research, we would have the chance to see what is the source if a problem. Is the money, opening hours, and attitude of health professionals? Those need to be explored and improved. Based on previous research, I believe that services should reconsider opening hours to be adjusted to everyone.
Where can we find you on social media?