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CDC Endorses Truvada in New Ad HIV Ad Campaign

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has unveiled a new ad campaign encouraging gay men to talk about HIV prevention with their partners. In the ads, the CDC endorses preventative medications like Truvada, saying:

Even before the foreplay, something oughta be on your mind. Talking. About testing, your status, and condoms. And new options like medicines that prevent and treat HIV. 

The CDC came out in favour of preventative HIV medications earlier this month, in what was seen as a vital moment in the debate over the "gay pill".

For recent coverage of Truvada on Towleroad, click here, here, and here.

Watch a couple of the ads, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "CDC Endorses Truvada in New Ad HIV Ad Campaign" »


'Why I Am A Truvada Whore'

Truvada Whore shirt

Freelance writer Christopher Glazek is a Truvada whore. It was not a decision he came to slowly or lightly, but after learning that the information he had initially been given was completely false and then being encouraged by a friend who was already on PrEP, he took the plunge. He now advocates for the drug as a preventative for the overwhelming majority of gay men and wrote a lengthy editorial for Out.com outlining his decision and how he came to it as well as examining the story of Adam Zeboski, creator of the #TruvadaWhore shirt. One of the primary reasons he advocates for the drug is that he views it's a drug that will be beneficial for everyone:

According to a CDC analysis released last year, only 15% of gay men use condoms consistently enough to derive substantial benefit from them. Truvada, then, is not a drug for a barebacking, pornographic minority, but for the overwhelming majority of people who do not consistently practice safe sex. 

Glazek also condemns the "puritanical ignorance" present in doctors, activists, journalists, and government officals which stymies the uptake of the drug, pointing out in particular ACT UP Paris derailing a study on Truvada as PrEP in Cambodia in 2004. Of course the issue of condoms makes an appearance, and Glazek feels Dr. Judy Auerbach, former vice president of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, addresses that issue succinctly with:

It’s clear that for many people, regardless of sexual orientation, the goal is to have condomless sex. Why don't we acknowledge that desire and not vilify it?


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.


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