Ending the HIV Epidemic, In Action
Ending the HIV Epidemic, In Action

Creating a Safe Space to Talk about PrEP and Sexual Health

DeKalb County Georgia Map and Photo of Ebonee Gresham talking with Dr. Sentayehu Bedane
DeKalb County Georgia Map and Photo of Ebonee Gresham talking with Dr. Sentayehu Bedane

T.O. Vinson offers a wide range of health services, including a drop-in clinic for treating sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Nurses at the STD clinic are already comfortable talking with patients about their sexual health risks, so offering PrEP is a natural extension of these services.

Just as important, T.O. Vinson’s nurses have established relationships with health center clients that are built on trust and respect. As Clinical Nurse Coordinator at T.O. Vinson, Ebonee Gresham sees daily how these relationships form the critical foundation that enables her team to effectively broach and fully discuss the subject of PrEP. This might mean helping someone acknowledge that they are truly at risk for HIV; serving as a trusted voice to vouch for the safety and efficacy of PrEP medications; or nurturing self-esteem so that clients believe their health is worth protecting.

Building trusted relationships: Ebonee Gresham
Ebonee Gresham

“For some patients, I’m the first person who has taken time to talk with them about their sexual partners and ways to reduce their HIV risk. Getting HIV is not inevitable – and it’s my responsibility to make sure every one of my patients knows they have options to prevent it, and that they deserve access to those options.”

– Ebonee Gresham, RN, MSN

Clinical Nurse Coordinator, T.O. Vinson Health Center

Ebonee Gresham consulting with Dr. Sentayehu Bedane

T.O. Vinson’s Ebonee Gresham, Clinical Nurse Coordinator, and Dr. Sentayehu Bedane, Countywide Services Manager for DeKalb County Board of Health, discuss a client’s HIV prevention care plan.

Ebonee Gresham consulting with Dr. Sentayehu Bedane

T.O. Vinson’s Ebonee Gresham, Clinical Nurse Coordinator, and Dr. Sentayehu Bedane, Countywide Services Manager for DeKalb County Board of Health, discuss a client’s HIV prevention care plan.

“Our patients tell us things they don’t tell anyone else, and so we get to know them in a way that many people in our community don’t,” says Ebonee. “For some patients, I’m the first person who has taken time to talk with them about their sexual partners and ways to reduce their HIV risk. Getting HIV is not inevitable – and it’s my responsibility to make sure every one of my patients knows they have options to prevent it, and that they deserve access to those options.”

Disclaimer: These stories do not represent endorsements by CDC of any organization or company mentioned.

Page last reviewed: October 16, 2020