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Manhunt to Promote HIV Prevention Pill Truvada for World AIDS Day: 'A Choice When Condoms are in the Way...'


Gay hook-up site Manhunt will promote the recently-FDA-approved drug Truvada, which claims to reduce the risk of HIV infection, for this year's World AIDS Day, they announced via press release:

TruvadaManhunt™ will promote Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for this year’s World AIDS Day.  Manhunt is the world’s largest online and mobile sexual networking site for gay men. This is the first time a worldwide promotion of Truvada, the recently approved U.S. FDA HIV Prevention Pill, has appeared on the site.  Manhunt has partnered with Gladstone Institutes’ Dr. Robert Grant and The Fenway Institute to assure that the information conveyed is accurate and consistent with peer-reviewed published science. This promotion is part of Manhunt’s 2012 Social Responsibility Initiative, and it is entirely self-funded.

The promotion is being sent to over 2.5 million Manhunt members on World AIDS Day through Manhunt’s internal email broadcast system with the following tagline:

“HIV Prevention Pill for Negative Men (and women too): A choice when condoms are in the way or not enough?”

The campaign encourages members to visit Manhunt Cares™ dedicated PrEP page to learn more about this important biomedical intervention.

“We are thrilled to work with Manhunt and The Fenway Institute to educate a worldwide audience of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men regarding PrEP,” says Dr. Grant.  “It’s critical to have an online community partner that sees the value of providing accurate information about this biomedical intervention.”

The campaign highlights three educational resources for Manhunt members to learn more about PrEP: reading the PrEP fact sheets and research articles; watching a short video from Huffington Post Live on PrEP; and reviewing Positive Frontier’s series called “My Life On PrEP”.

One of the research papers featured is The Fenway Institute’s PLOS ONE publication “Limited Awareness and Low Immediate Uptake of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis among Men Who Have Sex with Men Using an Internet Social Networking Site.”  The study’s Principal Investigator, Dr. Ken Mayer, Co-Chair of The Fenway Institute, believes that much work is required to increase awareness of PrEP, and that “this campaign is just the beginning of increasing men’s awareness of this intervention.”

FDA Approves Truvada Which Claims to Reduce Risk of HIV Infection: VIDEO [tlrd]

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  1. Pretty risky!! unless it can reduce the risk by 100%...I'd rather not have sex.

    Posted by: Johnny | Nov 30, 2012 11:59:26 AM

  2. When condoms are..."in the way?" WTF is THAT supposed to mean?

    Great. We went through decades of gay men dying in droves, billions spent on HIV/AIDS research to produce drugs that prolong life but not cure the disease, and from all that effort, we developed this pill. And now this site is promoting it as a CONDOM ALTERNATIVE?

    "Oh, if you feel like barebacking--because condoms just get in the way--pop this pill and no more worrying about HIV!" I'm sorry, but that's offensive. Truvada is NOT an alternative to condom use, for obvious reasons.

    1. It's toxic. Side effects can be severe.
    2. It won't stop any number of other STDs--syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HPV, HSV, hepatitis, etc.
    3. If guys start using it like this, how long do you think it's going to take before Truvada-resistant HIV strains start showing up?

    The FDA resisted recommending Truvada for PrEP use for exactly these reasons, and now Manhunt is demonstrating just how well-founded those fears were.

    Posted by: atomic | Nov 30, 2012 12:03:43 PM

  3. in what alternate dimension is HIV the only STD to be concerned about!?!?!?!

    use a f***ing condoms, boys. every f***ing time.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Nov 30, 2012 12:14:47 PM

  4. I second that emotion, Little Kiwi. This is highly irresponsible language on the part of Manhunt! I hope our collective Gay conscience, Larry Kramer, will have something to say about it.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Nov 30, 2012 12:17:27 PM

  5. I'm with Atomic on this. Manhunt is making a huge mistake. If they would have stopped with "When condoms are not enough," then that would have been OK. But "in the way" just encourages people to think, "Hey, if I find condoms inconvenient, I'll just take this pill..." This leads down the wrong path.

    Posted by: RyanInWyo | Nov 30, 2012 12:18:10 PM

  6. Insanity. It may be even more futile and counterproductive than the condom campaigns.

    Posted by: randall | Nov 30, 2012 12:18:46 PM

  7. This almost makes me wish that Anonymous would decide to target Manhunt. In fact, strike that "almost" part. I'm angry enough that I wish Manhunt would get wiped from the web.

    Posted by: RyanInWyo | Nov 30, 2012 12:20:19 PM

  8. Manhunt supported John McCain in 2008. Their judgement is lacking, all the way around.

    Posted by: chasmader | Nov 30, 2012 12:27:15 PM

  9. Yep, it's awful, but this being Manhunt I can hardly claim to be surprised.

    "Self-funded"? Meaning they're getting paid to do it by the drug manufacturer.

    Posted by: Paul R | Nov 30, 2012 12:29:25 PM

  10. This seems like a ridiculous campaign that sends a bad message. However, I think the person who said something about the toxicity of Truvada is a little misinformed. I've taken Truvada for several years (not as a preventative measure---I take it because I am HIV+) and have never had any side effects. In general I think the media hype about HIV drug side effects is quite a bit overblown. Yes, I know some people do experience them. But I don't and neither do most other people I know who take meds. I'm not saying having HIV is all fun and games--I'd prefer not to have to go to the doctor four times a year and pay $500 in presrciption co-pays every year--but if we're pinning our prevention efforts on warning guys about THE HORRIBLE DRUG SIDE EFFECTS, we probably need to find something a little more truthful.

    Posted by: ATLJason | Nov 30, 2012 12:30:25 PM

  11. Showing a corrupt press release from Manhunt on an issue that's critical to gay health is disgusting.
    We also have a fawning piece below on the trash peddler Any Cohen.
    It's sad. This used to be the smartest gay site on the web. But it's going downhill fast.

    Posted by: Wilberforce | Nov 30, 2012 12:39:44 PM

  12. I think the wording might strike some people wrong, but let's also remember some guys just aren't going to be sold on condoms right away.

    And guys who already think that "condoms are in the way" are the ones who might benefit the most from being educated about PrEP.

    Also, recommendations for PrEP also include counseling that might curb future risk; and in many studies participants DID decrease their risk behaviors and start to use condoms more consistently.

    Even if you don't like the messaging, preventing HIV isn't one-size fits all; and we can't say to high-risk folks who don't use condoms all the time "Fine, get HIV." And if we refuse to talk to them on their level—which includes acknowledging that they might not ever be convinced to use condoms—that's what we're doing.

    Posted by: John | Nov 30, 2012 12:41:53 PM

  13. Yes this is a poor message by Manhunt, but if people are stupid enough to believe it, then it is definitely their own damn fault. The dangers of unprotected sex are known. Anybody choosing to have sex without a condom are the ultimate ones responsible for their decisions.

    Posted by: TDSE | Nov 30, 2012 12:43:27 PM

  14. NEVER in a million years would I EVER take that pill!

    Side effect of condom use: Not getting AIDS and STI's

    Side effects of Truvada: Who Knows??

    It's really sad that AIDS (along with Cancer, Diabetes, etc.) is more about profits than actually helping people.

    Posted by: Chrisme | Nov 30, 2012 12:54:41 PM

  15. NEVER in a million years would I EVER take that pill!

    Side effect of condom use: Not getting AIDS and STI's

    Side effects of Truvada: Who Knows??

    It's really sad that AIDS (along with Cancer, Diabetes, etc.) is more about profits than actually helping people.

    Posted by: Chrisme | Nov 30, 2012 12:54:47 PM

  16. I worry that gay men are becoming way too lax about HIV prevention. Between people tauting this drug as a wonder drug, the home HIV tests that are pretty wonky, and the main porn sites basically abandoning condoms, there are so many mixed messages going around. Plus, as many have noted, there are a multitude of STDs that one can get besides HIV. Herpes and hepatitis are not minor and even highly treatable ones like chlamydia are no day at the beach.

    Just recently AIDS activists in the UK released date that showed gay men in that country had the largest amount of new infections this past year since data was first collected - most of it in the past six months. Yet people act like we have beaten HIV and AIDS. We have not - and we can't afford to become complacent.

    Posted by: KT | Nov 30, 2012 12:55:45 PM

  17. When condoms are in the way?

    Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy. And yes, there are DEFINITELY more than enough people out there uneducated and desperate enough to believe this message. That's the tragic part.

    Manhunt should be completely blackballed for this.

    Posted by: Francis | Nov 30, 2012 1:00:34 PM

  18. This is a truly outrageous message to be sending to men who have sex with men. Basically, it's saying, "Buy this drug and you don't have to use those pesky condoms anymore." As a supplement to the protection that condoms afford, FINE. As a substitute for condoms, FORGET IT. Manhunt sucks.

    Posted by: Joe in CT | Nov 30, 2012 1:07:09 PM

  19. If you want to stay HIV/STD free, always err on the side of caution and use a condom. People lie all the time so even if your partner says they are HIV free, use a condom. Testing is not foolproof and HIV has a long incubation period so even if your partner was declared disease free on their test, use a condom until they are tested again six months later. If you are in a polyamourous relationship, use a condom. If you are playing the field or looking for one night stands, use a condom. Really, just use a freaking condom! Its not that difficult.

    Posted by: Lee | Nov 30, 2012 1:09:46 PM

  20. What do you expect from the owners of this website that gave money to the McCain campaign during the previous election ?

    These same morons probably gave shares in the company that makes this drug so they only care about themselves and making money from the gay community.

    I don't know why any gay men still use Manhunt after it gave money to the Republican Party.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Nov 30, 2012 1:23:12 PM

  21. Sorry - I meant to say "These same morons probably HAVE shares in the company that makes this drug....."

    Posted by: Icebloo | Nov 30, 2012 1:24:50 PM

  22. *sigh* I'm definitely not in favor of the messaging here - but, like others have said, some guys are simply *not* going to use a condom, regardless of the risks. With AIDS back on the rise among Gay men, I think every effort should be made to get as many preventative methods out into the general public as possible.

    Of course, if someone doesn't wanna shell out the money for a box of condoms, are they really any more likely to buy an expensive drug to prevent possible HIV transmission?

    Posted by: Oz in OK | Nov 30, 2012 1:28:46 PM

  23. Condoms are never in the way. That should be the philosophy, and the driving force behind all HIV prevention efforts.

    I fully support any pragmatic measures taken to address the realities of people in the real world, i.e. all people will not do what they should to protect their health, so any measure that can prevent HIV infection is better than nothing. But this should not be the front line of defense.

    There needs to be a concerted effort at addressing this perennial apathy surrounding condoms. The glamourization of barebacking has to be countered.

    Posted by: Nat | Nov 30, 2012 1:29:02 PM

  24. @ATLJason:

    You need to understand what is meant by drug toxicity. It doesn't mean the drug is going to kill you. It simply means that the drug is known to have harmful side effects in a significant proportion of people.

    You may say, "well, it's better than NOT taking the drug." Of course it is--IF YOU ARE HIV+ and actually NEED it. The benefit of taking the drug far outweighs the side effects for most patients because it is generally well tolerated. But if I ask you if an HIV- person NEEDS to take it, then that's a different question. Even if toxicity is experienced by only 2% of those who take it, that's still a LOT of HIV- people needlessly getting sick and harming their own bodies just because they don't want to use a condom.

    I can get on board with people taking Truvada for PEP. Condoms do break, or slip off, or otherwise fail. Nothing in life is certain. But there's a clear difference between advocating for PrEP versus advertising Truvada as a condom alternative, and Manhunt TOTALLY crossed that line.

    As for the argument that the target audience for the statement "when condoms get in the way" are people who would have unprotected sex anyway, I find that position disingenuous. The whole point of PrEP and Truvada is not to facilitate greater risk taking. It's to give those of us who are already at risk another tool to reduce that risk. If they were going to have unprotected sex anyway, the last thing I want them to do is start taking Truvada and develop drug-resistant HIV, because those are precisely the people who are most likely to pass it on to others.

    Posted by: atomic | Nov 30, 2012 1:31:21 PM

  25. Let's be honest here, guys--CONDOMS RUIN SEX--they destroy any possibility of get aroused and want to stick it in....but you have to stop, open a packet, and slip a piece of latex over your organ--which is not always easy to that by the time you go through all that, the whole ambience of the sexual experience has been destroyed.

    And then, once you do get penetration, you get an inferior f#ck because the condom cuts way down on the sensitivity of your penis and therefore the quality of the sensations.

    This pill just offers an alternative to those who think the risk is worth it, understanding, of course, that even condoms are not 100% effective all the time.

    So stop being a bunch of self-righteous nellies about it--if you don't want to use the pill, don't.......but it is a great option for those who want to have REAL sex, the way it was intended to be enjoyed, rather than through the joy-destroying and deadening experience of a latex tube.

    Posted by: Rick | Nov 30, 2012 1:32:16 PM

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