AIDS/HIV | Truvada

AHF President Michael Weinstein Spurs Outrage with Remarks on Truvada: 'It's A Party Drug'

Michael Weinstein

Slowly but steadily Truvada as PrEP is gaining awareness and acceptance as a valid method for preventing HIV transmission. The drug's reputation is not without its problems, however, including no small number of myths and misinformation that routinely have to be debunked. Adding to the opposition of the drug's uptake is AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein.

Said Weinstein of the drug: Truvada

If something comes along that's better than condoms, I'm all for it, but Truvada is not that. Let's be honest: It's a party drug.

Weinstein received immediate public backlash and condemnation for the remarks.

Mr. L.A. Leather Eric Paul Leue pulled no punches on his Facebook page (some content hidden depending on privacy settings),

I speak out against Weinstein's ignorant form of speech that is attacking our LGBT community and those that are aware[...]He disgraces those that are actively seeking protection, awareness and knowledge by literally calling them drug addicts.

Adult video producer Michael Lucas called for Weinstein's removal as AHF president:

In this man’s prurient imagination, gays are too busy enjoying their bareback orgies to be trusted with taking a once-daily pill. In his view, gay men using PrEP will stir up a frothy new drug-resistant strain of the virus. What evidence exists that this is a valid scientific concern? None. He has not even credited the fact that this form of prevention might and is being used by responsible gay men regardless of the sexual activity they are engaged in. Mr. Weinstein’s anti-PrEP position is an extension of his long-standing anti-promiscuity crusade and more importantly his continuation of harmful shame tactics.

The facts are that Truvada is estimated to be over 99% effective when taken properly. Additionally, the fear that Truvada will encourage riskier behavior is not founded in fact; men are already having condomless sex regardless of the availability of PrEP, and during the iPrEX studies prior to FDA approval there was no increase in risky behavior between the men who thought they were on PrEP versus those who thought they were on the placebo.

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Comments

  1. Anything Michael Lucas says I'd go the opposite way.

    Posted by: Felix | Apr 14, 2014 6:17:46 PM


  2. Anyone who pisses off Michael Lucas can't be all bad.

    Posted by: Profe Sancho Panza | Apr 14, 2014 6:19:46 PM


  3. What Felix said...

    Posted by: Ian | Apr 14, 2014 6:21:13 PM


  4. The study which claims to "prove" that Truvada therapy does not lead to increased risky behavior does nothing of the kind. The people involved in the study knew that they were getting either Truvada or a placebo - that is, they knew they might not be on a protective drug at all. Non-trial users of Truvada know they are taking a protective drug - it wouldn't be a urprise if they actually start acting like it. We simply don't have conclusive data on whether Truvada use causes a net increase in risk or not.

    Posted by: Kipp | Apr 14, 2014 6:30:42 PM


  5. It isn't a "party drug," but protection from HIV does not equal protection from a myriad number of STDs (gonorrhea, herpes, etc), nor does it protect you from whatever comes NEXT.

    As diseases become antibiotic resistant and bareback sex increases (not tied directly to usage of Truvada, but of trends in the community-at-large), the gay community IS risking another catastrophic, untreatable disease or virus. It is not a matter of if, it's a matter of when.

    For me, I'll keep wrapping it up.

    Posted by: theo | Apr 14, 2014 6:31:08 PM


  6. If the best rebuttal you can find comes from a porn producer and Mr. L.A. Leather, then the guy might have a point.

    Truvada's 99% effective against HIV? That's nice. Is it effective against Herpes? HPV? Will it be effective against the next undiscovered virus or STD that's lurking out there?

    Posted by: Bill S. | Apr 14, 2014 7:19:29 PM


  7. @KIPP - the study tried to determine who thought they had the actual drug and analyzed their behavior. In general, though, the same argument that you're applying has been launched against condoms, sexual education, and the HPV vaccine. It has no merit.

    @THEO - Good for you for using condoms, but can I ask you... why not both? If condoms work for you, you should realize that they aren't 100% effective. In actual typical use they're something like 80% effective. Truvada is much more effective at preventing HIV than condoms are.

    Also, I strongly disagree with the argument that condoms prevent STDs other than HIV so Truvada is bad. Condomed sex typical use is condom for anal sex but no condom for oral sex. Virtually every STD out there is easily transmitted through oral sex with the exception of HIV. We, in general, consider condomless oral sex (swallowing included) to be relatively safe despite the fact that it spreads STDs easily. So why shouldn't we consider any protection from HIV (the one thing we're really protecting from with condoms) to be protection?

    Posted by: RandySF | Apr 14, 2014 7:23:16 PM


  8. I have a better solution... marriage. Protects against all STDs and works wonders for one's psychological and emotional health.

    Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 14, 2014 7:26:29 PM


  9. How much is Truvada paying for this propaganda piece?

    Posted by: Lucrece | Apr 14, 2014 7:28:04 PM


  10. If the shoe fits...

    Posted by: Bastian | Apr 14, 2014 7:36:45 PM


  11. Truvada use causes permanent kidney damage. Use condoms and you'll be fine. This seems pointless promotion of a drug which will damage you, permanently.

    Posted by: jonnathewoodswoman | Apr 14, 2014 7:44:34 PM


  12. Michael Lucas is a slimy PIG. What a low-life bottom feeder.

    Posted by: jonnathewoodswoman | Apr 14, 2014 7:45:13 PM


  13. As a PrEP user I am always stunned at the stigma that people put on it.

    Personally, I always use a condom when I have sex (except sometimes when in a relationship). What PrEP does for me is offer an extra measure of protection in the case of unforeseen circumstances (broken condom, cheating partner, etc.)

    Why denigrate what is ultimately another very effective tool in our arsenal to prevent HIV infection?

    Posted by: lucas | Apr 14, 2014 7:51:28 PM


  14. @JONNATHEWOODSWOMAN - While it's true that kidney damage is a possible side effect, it isn't one I've encountered myself - at least so far. If it does become a concern, I can always stop PrEP.

    Most drugs can have harmful side effects. Acetaminophen can also cause kidney damage, but do most people avoid Tylenol?

    Posted by: lucas | Apr 14, 2014 7:55:13 PM


  15. Thank you, RandySF, for valiantly (and, probably, vainly) trying to keep this a fact-based discussion about HIV prevention methods and how they work in the real world. I can't imagine you'll get much traction among the pearl-clutching folk who can't seem to adjust to a world in which condoms are just one of three highly effective prevention regimens and the choice of which regimen (or regimens) is best is a decision that can only be made within the context of an individual's own sex life, risk aversion, health profile, and behavioral history.

    Posted by: 24play | Apr 14, 2014 7:59:40 PM


  16. Weinstein's greatest fear is that there will be a fool proof preventative or a cure and then he will be out of a job! If he had his way we would all have taken vows and be living in monasteries in the 80s.

    Posted by: DBAUDIT | Apr 14, 2014 8:02:04 PM


  17. Drugs are toxic and toxicity isn't good for one's health. Sure Truvada has its place, but it sure shouldn't be abused or used lightly.

    Posted by: Jay | Apr 14, 2014 8:06:55 PM


  18. I'm a Truvada whore. I'm neg (just tested, for the 100th time), and make a $125 monthly co-pay for the other little blue pill. Do I occasionally have riskier (unprotected anal) sex? Sometimes-- but rarely. Did my doctor lecture me against this? Yes. Do I realize I'm kind of abusing the very privilege of PrEP? Kinnnda. Do you need to get over your frustration about what I'm doing? Ummmm, yes.

    Posted by: Fred L | Apr 14, 2014 8:07:17 PM


  19. Relax people.. He has a point that those who practice unsafe sex love to ignore.. Aids became an epidemic because of unsafe sexual behavior.. Using Truvada in order to have unprotected sex DOES leave open the possibility of yet another major virus to rip through the gay community as it did in the 80s and 90s. Also, Truvada doesn't protect against any other STD which also leaves the door open for another outbreak.. Why the POZ community is leveraging their power to try and debunk common sense is beyond me, but it's starting to make us look like a bunch of wackos who refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

    Posted by: jake john | Apr 14, 2014 8:24:56 PM


  20. Michael Lucas is a moron..

    Posted by: jake john | Apr 14, 2014 8:26:35 PM


  21. @RandySF

    I am criticizing the attempt to claim than any study has proven Truvada doesn't lead to riskier behavior. I am not arguing against the merits of Truvada use. I'm all-for another prevention method. Truvada doesn't change human nature, however, and as commenter Fred L exemplifies, people will do riskier things when they think they are protected. An honest defense of Truvada would aknowledge the possible increase in riskier behavior - and weigh that fairly against the real protection the drug provides.

    Posted by: Kipp | Apr 14, 2014 8:28:07 PM


  22. Why on earth would bareback porn producer/actor Michael Lucas have it out for someone who has campaigned for the use of condoms in porn?

    Posted by: Douglas | Apr 14, 2014 8:34:08 PM


  23. I just do not understand why the hell Michael Lucas thinks his opinion is worth anything. Moreover, why the hell would anyone listen to anything Michael Lucas has to say?

    Posted by: WTF21 | Apr 14, 2014 8:52:19 PM


  24. I can think of about 13,000 reasons not to use it for prevention, but as more people do those "reasons" (the yearly cost in dollars) should drop to much closer to the manufacturing cost, barring anti-trust issues.

    It could be a cost-saver, particularly if provided to sexually active people in their early twenties who will eventually settle down, by preventing a lifetime need (or use until there is a cure) for an expensive drug.


    I'm not sure what people are arguing about other than cost - if you have two independent but not 100% reliable preventive measures, the obvious strategy for self preservation is to use both. That's "risk management 101".


    Posted by: BIll | Apr 14, 2014 8:58:55 PM


  25. I don't care if it's 100% effective.

    HIV isn't the only reason we use condoms.

    Posted by: Reidsb | Apr 14, 2014 9:40:21 PM


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