What's Your Instinct: AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Calls Truvada A "Party Drug"
The contentious debate over the preventative use of Truvada by HIV-negative gay men who wish to refrain from becoming infected with HIV took on a drastic new tone recently. Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, has blasted the preventative use of Truvada and labeled it a “party drug.”
"If something comes along that's better than condoms, I'm all for it, but Truvada is not that," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "Let's be honest: It's a party drug."
Yes, the same Truvada that—if taken accordingly—has been proven to prevent HIV-infection in sexually-active gay men by 90 percent or more.
"I find some of that opposition irresponsible," said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, medical director of the ambulatory HIV program at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital. “If some men don't want to use condoms, they won't. You have to deal with it by acknowledging that sometimes unprotected sex happens, and you can still prevent HIV infections."
Unfortunately, the growing stigma attached to preventing HIV-infection with Truvada has caused many sexually-active gay men pause.
"There's some interesting social pushback," Dr. Daskalakis added. "I've spoken to some of my patients who'd totally be candidates but are hesitant to do it. They don't want to be labeled as people on the drug because there's a social stigma."
Andrew Sullivan is also eloquently flabbergasted on leading HIV/AIDS activists’ opposition to Truvada.
I have to say I’m aghast by that attempt to stigmatize – yes, stigmatize – a medication that could prevent countless men from being infected with HIV. Think about it: if it were 1990 and the news emerged that – just by taking one pill a day – you could avoid ever getting infected with HIV, do you think there would be any debate at all? There would be lines around the block for it, huge publicity campaigns to get the amazing news out, celebrations in the streets, and huge relief for anyone not infected with the virus. Fast forward a quarter century, and those taking this medication are actually demonized as “Truvada Whores“.
Whore? Why are some now channeling Rush Limbaugh’s sex-phobia? I mean: are women who are on the contraceptive pill “whores” as well? All they’re doing is protecting themselves from the consequences of sex in terms of pregnancy. And all gay men on Truvada are doing is protecting themselves from HIV. Why on earth would we want to prevent or marginalize that?
What say you, Instincters? Is the president of one of the country’s largest HIV/AIDS organizations right in labeling Truvada a “party drug” or is he off-base?
(Via USA Today)