Truvada Hub




AIDS Healthcare Foundation: CDC Is 'Ill-Advised' To Promote PrEP

Condoms

Hot on the heels of the medical specialists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention administering guidelines for PrEP as an HIV preventive the AIDS Healthcare Foundation released a statement calling the CDC's promotion of pre-exposure prophylaxis as a method of HIV prevention "ill-advised." AHF President Michael Weinstein said on their website:

This is a position I fear the CDC will come to regret. By recommending widespread use of PrEP for HIV prevention despite research studies amply chronicling the inability to take it as directed, and showing a limited preventive effect at best, the CDC has abandoned a science-driven, public health approach to disease prevention—a move that will likely have catastrophic consequences in the fight against AIDS in this country.

He then brings up concerns about other STDs and insists that an uptake of PrEP will lead to a surge in condomless sex and therefore a rise in other STDs; however, the CDC made their decisions after analyzing the results of actual scientific studies. Weinstein's assertion about increased condomless sex, on the other hand, is pure speculation and actually runs counter to observations from the iPrEx study that noted no decrease in condom usage by participants on PrEP.


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.


Eric Paul Leue On His Petition To Remove Weinstein From AHF

Eric Paul Leue

In response to AHF president Michael Weinstein referring to Truvada as PrEP as a "party drug", Mr. LA Leather Eric Paul Leue created a petition on Change.org to have Weinstein removed from his position. Having drawn both commendation and condemnation for speaking against Weinstein and in favor of PrEP - with some condemnations levied at Leue more baseless than others - Leue took to Huffington Post to explain his background, his views, and why he chose to target Weinstein with a petition. His explanation is difficult to sum up in a single quote so the full editorial should be read regardless of whether one agrees with him or not, but in part:

The petition I launched is titled "Remove Weinstein." I have nothing against Weinstein as a person, nor do I mean to devalue his past achievements or the AHF in general. I simply question his role as a leader of an HIV organization and as an influential public figure on HIV issues.

[...]

Dialogue would unite everyone over our common goal of preventing HIV transmission, providing accurate information to the public, and alleviating HIV-related stigma and discrimination. The question is: Why is Weinstein not interested in participating?


AHF President Michael Weinstein Doubles Down on Truvada ‘Party Drug’ Claims

Weinstein

Last week we reported on calls for Michael Weinsten’s resignation amid furor over the AIDS Healthcare Foundation President’s criticism of HIV PReP drug Truvada.

Weinstein defended his remarks in an interview late last week with Buzzfeed:

“I’ve had debates on this subject, but these people are jumping to character assassination and I’m not going to respond to it,” said Michael Weinstein, president of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest HIV/AIDS medical care provider in the U.S. “My record and the record of AHF speaks for itself.”

“In the last few days in terms of the people who have been yelling the loudest about this, they’ve all been associated with bareback porn,” he said. “They’re all associated with bareback porn, which kind of makes my point that it’s a party drug.”

Weinstein later elaborated on his opposition to the drug:

Weinstein also said numbers from Gilead Sciences (the maker of Truvada) show fewer than 1,800 people have been prescribed Truvada for prevention, saying, “More importantly, the physicians who treat gay men aren’t recommending it, otherwise more and more people would be on it. It’s been on the market for two years and it really hasn’t caught on.” With that said, Weinstein concedes “there’s no problem” if someone’s doctor thinks Truvada is appropriate for them, but said, “I still think that it’s Russian Roulette because of the adherence problem.”

Advocates are calling his remarks judgmental and  “a conversation stopper” when real dialogue about the drug’s efficacy is needed.


Mr. LA Leather Starts Petition To Remove Weinstein From AHF

AHF Petition Banner

In response to Michael Weinstein's glib remarks referring to Truvada as "a party drug", yesterday Mr. LA Leather Eric Paul Leue created a Change.org petition to have Weinstein removed from his position as president and CEO of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Leue issued a press release for the petition:

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,

Today I, as a community representative, have launched a petition for the removal of Michael Weinstein as President and CEO of the AHF. This is not just about the LGBTQ community, it concerns us all. This petition is not about how Weinstein or we personally feel about HIV PrEP. This petition is about whether we, the people, should be allowed access to accurate information, free of stigma and discrimination.

Mr. Weinstein's comments and actions are unbefitting the head of the world's largest AIDS service organization, and we are calling for his removal. HIV prevention is not "a party." #removeWeinstein

Eric Paul Leue
Mr LA Leather 2014

Previously...
AHF President Michael Weinstein Spurs Outrage with Remarks on Truvada: 'It's a Party Drug' [tlrd]


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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