The Center for Disease Control last week announced new guidelines for people considered to be at high risk for contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a way for people who do not have HIV to prevent the infection by taking a pill every day. The pill (current brand name Truvada) contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine) that are used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.
The new guidelines say that the use of the PrEP regimen should be considered by the following groups:
* Anyone involved in an ongoing relationship with a person who is already infected with HIV;
* Any gay or bisexual man who has had sex without a condom or who has been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection within the past six months, and is not in a mutually monogamous relationship with someone who recently tested HIV-negative;
* A heterosexual person who does not always use condoms when having sex with people who might be at high risk for HIV (injection drug users or bisexual male partners whose HIV status is unknown) and is also not involved with an HIV-negative person in a mutually monogamous relationship;
* Anyone who has abused injected, illicit drugs over the past six months, shared needles or other equipment tied to injected drug abuse, or been in a drug abuse treatment program.
But there has been some reluctance in the past to prescribe Truvada—and patients’ reluctance to request it—that stems from a bitter fight over the treatment. Critics have questioned PrEP’s safety, efficacy, and cost, and have accused the government of colluding with the drug manufacturer at the expense of public health. Regan Hofmann, the former editor-in-chief of Poz, a magazine for people living with AIDS, called PrEP a “profit-driven sex toy for rich Westerners.” Michael Weinstein, the head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (A.H.F.), the world’s largest AIDS organization and the primary-care provider for more than two hundred thousand patients around the world, predicted a public-health catastrophe. “The applause for this approach shows just how disposable we consider the lives of gay men,” he wrote. Also earlier this month Weinstien drew outrage from within the gay community and AIDS activists by stating “Let’s be honest: It’s a party drug.”
Eric Paul Leue, who currently holds the title of Mr. Los Angeles Leather, and is the face of the “Test Your Limits” HIV testing campaign aimed at the leather/kink community, which has been partially funded by AHF lashed out at Weinstein for his remarks, which he called a “disgraceful and uneducated attack on our LGBT community,” and called upon him publicly to apologize, saying:
“I speak out against Weinstein’s ignorant form of speech that is attacking our LGBT community and those that are aware. With his figure of speech he compares a FDA approved medical treatment (that can [save] life) with actual illegal drugs like cocaine, [ecstasy], heroin, meth and GHB to which we have just recently lost some of our friends.
He disgraces those that are actively seeking protection, awareness and knowledge by literally calling them drug addicts.”
Noted journalist and HIV activist Todd Heywood lauds the CDC’ Guidance
“The CDC guidance is perhaps the single greatest HIV prevention intervention since the recommendation to use condoms was adopted in the late 80s. It can and should revolutionize the way we see and talk about HIV. There are naysayers but they simply do not have the science to back up their claims. They have fears — and that’s all they have. We should not resolve to allowing fear to continue to run HIV prevention options.”
You can read and learn more about the Center for Disease Control’s Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Guidance by clicking HERE.