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Larry Kramer: 'There's Something Cowardly About Taking Truvada'


The New York Times profiled HIV/AIDS activist and The Normal Heart playwright Larry Kramer on Wednesday as the film adaptation of his play is set to premiere on HBO on Sunday, May 25.

Kramer, who is HIV-positive, has worked tirelessly to bring the fight against HIV/AIDS to the forefront of national attention. He makes specific comments in the NYT piece on Truvada/PrEP that are certain to be controversial.

Kramer says:

While he said he “loved” seeing Mr. Sam kissing his boyfriend on ESPN after being chosen in the N.F.L. draft, Mr. Kramer is dismayed about gay America, pointing to this month’s recommendation by federal health officials that hundreds of thousands of people take the drug Truvada to prevent H.I.V. infection. The endorsement comes as many young gay men and others have stopped using condoms.

“Anybody who voluntarily takes an antiviral every day has got to have rocks in their heads,” Mr. Kramer said, describing the side effects of drugs he has taken. “There’s something to me cowardly about taking Truvada instead of using a condom. You’re taking a drug that is poison to you, and it has lessened your energy to fight, to get involved, to do anything.”

These comments appear to fall in line with the controversial position held by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) head Michael Weinstein, who has denounced the use of PrEP, calling Truvada "a party drug." 

Without question, Kramer has more than earned the right to voice his opinion on this issue. After all, he's a hero of our community and his voice was one of the loudest and most vocal to be heard in our nation when gay men were dying no one wanted to talk about HIV/AIDS.

We're curious as to how you feel about his comments on Truvada/PrEP. Do you agree or disagree?



Love you Larry but you are WRONG WRONG WRONG here. If only we had this drug in 92 when friends were dying by the week. We would have all been in line for it, mortgaged our homes, whatever.   Hate it that you made this comment.

I think if you're taking a pill INSTEAD of using a condom, INSTEAD of being safe... that's just stupid. But if you're doing these things in concert, it's great. If you're in a -/+ relationship, why not take it for the extra protection?

I strongly disagree with the anti-Truvada rhetoric. I have lived with HIV for seven years now. I am recently married and at my request, my husband takes Truvada for extra precautionary measures. Cowardly? No way. My husband is a pioneer in my eyes. Neither of us know in the end what damage these drugs will do to our bodies, but we love each other. And having each other in our lives outweighs the risks. We'll overcome this obstacle and tackle it together. Isn't that the point of life? Of love? To take a chance.

People need more options to protect themselves against HIV.  Condoms are NOT working to prevent HIV.  Many people just don't WANT to use them during sex and nothing is going to change that, despite all the blaming and shaming of people who chose to use Truvada for prevention.  Get over it. 

Im kind of torn on this issue. On one hand, prevention can curb infection rates and defeat the HIV epidemic. On the other, misuse and abuse of it can lead to viral resistance. I say, shame to those who try to shame those who would opt for PrEP. I also say, those who can't control themselves and find themselves having unsafe sex should take one everyday, and they need to be taken 30 days after your last encounter so don't stop without the doctor's instruction. Those HIV negative men who want to date or are in relationships with HIV positive men, take the PrEP. For everyone else, just stay strong and use condoms.  Why is there even any controversy over this? It should kind of be treated like a birth control pill, meanwhile you don't take pills for completely random strangers, you use condoms. Unless of course you are a slut sleeping with a new random stranger frequently. 

So, what would you say to sero-discordant couple where one is on meds which renders him undetectable and the other on PrEP  That is my world, and I take Truvada. Am I not allowed to make such a choice to abandon condoms which are really a pain without the score of the gay community? I hate condoms, and I am more than willing to accept the resultant miniscule risk that results from the aforementioned scenario so I can have sex with my husband without one.

There are parts of the gay community, including Larry Kramer, who have lost their minds on this issue. To them I say "Fuck You!"

Thank you for saying this.  I just stared a relationship with an HIV positive man who is also undetectable and I'm negative.  I'm researching taking Truvada now.  Your post just gave me hope.  I can see myself building a happy life with him regardless of his diagnosis.  

You must take it regularly and be checked regularly. It has been wonderful for  us and I have had absolutely no side effects. 

Its a party drug.  Any med that allows ppl to schtup anything with a pulse without any personal responsibility will be used  irrrisponsibily. Hiv will Simply mutate again and ppl will start dying again.

What if.... and I'm just saying,   what if everyone was taking this drug and it eventually wipes the disease out?  Wouldn't that be a good thing?  Calling men cowards for using the pill and not a condom is a bit, well ok, very stupid.  How are you a coward for being cautious?

Very sad article to read. @joshuaJeremiah I believe he needs to take his medication, it's not a option. Anyone that takes any HIV medication for any kind of party mentality should have a mental exam performed, then a STD and finally a liver test.

I am really tired of Larry Kramer. He was relevant once. Now, not so much.

The same thing could be said of Mr. Kramer taking his HIV medication.

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