Texas-based Nurse Practitioner Courtney P. Sherman spends her days prescribing birth control, emergency contraception, and PrEP to Nurx patients, and answering questions and doling out follow-up advice whenever our patients need it. But she has particular expertise in PrEP, the daily pill that helps HIV-negative people stay HIV-negative. We asked Courtney a few questions about how she became an early PrEP advocate and what it’s like working at Nurx.
How long have you been prescribing PrEP?
I wrote my first PrEP prescription on May 2, 2016. I started the first public health PrEP program in Texas, which is one of the coolest things I have ever done as a provider! My boss at the time encouraged me to keep the development of the program quiet, because it was not a popular service among the high-ranking folks in the organization. I worked on the program for 9 months and created it on paper with critical input from two trusted colleagues without whom the program would have failed. I got a call one day from my boss who simply told me to start, and I have been prescribing PrEP ever since.
What do you see as the future for PrEP access?
While everyone assumes the price of the drug is the primary barrier, the real barrier to access is provider ignorance. But I’m optimistic that more providers will become aware of PrEP and how effective it is and will begin to offer PrEP as a service in their own practices. I also see patients unwilling to accept provider ignorance, and more patients are educating themselves about PrEP to become advocates for themselves. Soon there will be no excuses for inaccessible PrEP.
How is being on PrEP different than patients expect?
Providers treat PrEP like it is some huge deal fraught with danger and complexities. But it is no big deal at all. Labs every 3 months and a pill a day; that’s it. Diabetes is more complex than that! An overwhelming majority of patients don’t even have side effects from the medication (I know I don’t when I take PrEP). It sounds scary and expensive, but with payment assistance programs many people pay nothing for the medication, and it is no big deal.
What is the one thing you wish everyone would know about their health?
As a provider, I am supposedly the expert on whatever is in the textbooks that I read in school. As a patient, you are the expert on you. We discuss your concerns and come to a joint decision that takes both your health and the current medical evidence into consideration. You should never be afraid to ask questions, bring up new concerns, or talk about really personal things. If you find that your provider is writing orders without your input, it is time to find a new provider.
What do you find rewarding about being a provider on Nurx’s medical team?
The provider team at Nurx is the best of the best. We have pioneers in women’s health, sexual health, public health, and disease prevention with a wide variety of expertise. The most rewarding thing is that, despite our various specialties, we all have the same passion to deliver the absolute best care possible to those who need it. We use the experience and expertise of our teammates to provide excellent care.
What would you say to someone who is considering choosing a company like Nurx for their healthcare needs?
You have no idea what you are missing! You can try it, and if you don’t like it, you can always go back to a traditional practice.
This blog provides information about telemedicine, health and related subjects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be construed as a substitute for, medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or person with a medical concern should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx™.