Pennsylvania Rep Brian Sims shares PrEP usage to ‘combat the stigma’

Brian Sims smiling / Fingers holding a PReP pill

State legislator Brian Sims has opened up about his use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), the drug which radically reduces the risk of contracting HIV.

Sims posted a photo of a Truvada pill to Instagram on Tuesday (April 23), explaining that he was sharing his story to fight misconceptions.

“Starting this day off smart, proactive, and in control,’ he wrote on Tuesday (April 23).

“Think this is an invite to talk about my sex life? It’s not. Think it’s an invite to shame me or anyone else? Grow up.

“Think this is an invite to talk about my sex life? It’s not.”

—Brian Sims

“Stigma is the thing our enemies want us to be stunted by. It literally kills us. It’s stupid and we control our own fate. No shame in this game. Just Pride.”

Brian Sims Instagram post wins praise

The post has garnered more than 8,300 likes as on Friday (April 26), with many followers praising Sims’ openness.

“I take care of youth at risk or living with HIV and appreciate this leadership and mentorship so much,” one supporter named Zac wrote.

“I think this is an awesome way to beat down the walls that create stigma,” added another, Declan Scammell.

“Thanks for the visibility, zaddy,” wrote the advocacy group Lets PReP Wisconsin.

Brian Sims started taking PReP earlier this year

Sims is the first openly gay men to be elected to the Pennsylvanian legislature and a staunch advocate for LGBT+ rights.

On April 17 he introduced a bill which would require health insurers to cover the costs of PrEP and PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis).

Speaking to Plus, a publication aimed at people living with HIV and their allies, he said that he wants “everyone to make the healthiest, most informed decisions they can about their sexual relationships and sexual health.”

“In my circles, I had learned about PrEP several years ago and know a number of people who practice it,” he explained.

“Almost all of them reported to me that their doctors knew little about PrEP, their friends and family seemed to know even less, and that they often experienced shaming similar to what I imagine women faced who chose to take birth control in its early years.

He confirmed that he started taking PrEP earlier this year.

“I’ve grown somewhat used to people making assumptions about my relationships and knew that if I was public about [going on PrEP], I might be able to help combat the stigma where that shaming comes from.”