HIV Activist Rails Against PrEP, Plus Magazine Destroys His Arguments

Robert Brandon Sandor

Robert Brandon Sandor is an HIV activist, the owner of poz4poz and HIV-UB2, and is the creator of a series of regular serosorted play parties in NYC and other gay meccas. He recently wrote an opinion article for Gay San Diego wherein he slammed PrEP as a viable means for HIV prevention. The only problem is that his opinion piece appeared to be almost entirely devoid of factual information, so Todd Heywood at HIVPlus Magazine took the time to fisk Sandor's piece and dismantle his claims with cited facts.

For example, since PrEP supporters encourage people to use condoms and the pill together Sandor begs the question whether it's condoms or PrEP that accounted for lower HIV transmissions in the iPrEx study. Heywood countered with a statement from the study that stated, in part:

Given that high-risk sexual behaviors were still quite common, and given that condom use was the same in both the Truvada and placebo groups, it is highly likely that Truvada, and not just condoms, had a lot to do with how effectively the pill prevented new infections.

Sandor, who is HIV+ himself, also claimed that there is no need to take medications for prevention as "Safe Sex Serosorting" sex parties, and serosorting in general, already help to prevent the transmission of HIV. The Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes found that "The protective effect for serosorting we found was not statistically significant." What's more, the CDC itself states in bold, authoritative letters, "CDC does not recommend serosorting as a safer sex practice," because

(1) too many MSM who have HIV do not know they are infected because they have not been tested for HIV recently, (2) men’s assumptions about the HIV status of their partners may be wrong, and (3) some HIV-positive men may not tell or may misrepresent their HIV status. All of these factors increase the risk that serosorting could lead to HIV infection.

Both articles are worth a read for a more comprehensive understanding of the issues and arguments around PrEP.