Late last year, actor Zachary Quinto made some cautionary remarks about the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) by gay men which caused such a stir that he’s still being asked to clarify them nine months later.
Quinto told OUT magazine:
AIDS has lost the edge of horror it possessed when it swept through the world in the ’80s…Today’s generation sees it more as something to live with and something to be much less fearful of. And that comes with a sense of, dare I say, laziness…[On PrEP,] We need to be really vigilant and open about the fact that these drugs are not to be taken to increase our ability to have recreational sex…There’s an incredible underlying irresponsibility to that way of thinking…and we don’t yet know enough about this vein of medication to see where it’ll take us down the line.
He later clarified in the HuffPost:
What troubles me — and what I was trying to speak to in my interview — is an attitude among (some of) the younger generation of gay men — that we can let our guard down against this still very real threat to our collective well-being. I have had numerous conversations in my travels with young gay people who see the threat of HIV as diminished to the point of near irrelevance. I have heard too many stories of young people taking PrEP as an insurance policy against their tendency toward unprotected non-monogamous sex. THAT is my only outrage.
How gay men have sex with each other was unilaterally redefined for nearly two generations as a result of AIDS. I was simply trying to assert my belief that we need to be especially vigilant and accountable to ourselves and one another at this moment in our evolution. It is a tremendous advancement in the fight against the disease that scientists have developed this particular medication. But it’s still early — that’s all.
In a new interview, SiriusXM radio host and HuffPost editor Michelangelo Signorile asked Quinto about the remarks and the outrage they inspired.
“I tend to be averse to pharmaceuticals anyway. I’m not a big pill popper in my life. Look, I just think we need to be vigilant as a community and a community of gay men. It was not my intention to judge anybody…to rankle anybody, or to put myself in some kind of superior position by any means. I think if people use PrEP as part of a responsible regimen of taking care of themselves and preserving their bodies and their well-being and the well-being of the people they’re having sex with, then more power to them. There was this thing that I was ‘slut-shaming.’ Anybody who knows me knows that that is the last thing I would ever do. I just think that we can’t let our guard down.”
Listen to the clip below:
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Quinto also talked about coming out publicly, which he did in 2011, and how that has affected his acting career. Read more from the interview here.
Quinto on the film I Am Michael:
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(photo via Instagram)