A Dec. 8 blog post in the San Francisco Business Times has sparked another furor over gay men using the HIV drug Truvada to prevent infection with the deadly virus. "San Francisco men shed condoms in favor of Gilead's HIV prevention pill," alleges the title of SFBT reporter Ron Leuty's opinion piece.
I recently decided to be public about my use of PrEP in order to raise awareness about this relatively new tool for preventing HIV. It's important to encourage people at risk for HIV to talk to their medical providers about all the tools and methods available for preventing infection, including PrEP, and to choose the methods that are best for them.
If you make an informed decision to practice barebacking, then so be it. I can't say I will never do the same. However, short-term pleasure, a sense of belonging, and the excitement of abandoning homonormative sociosexual practices cannot be divorced from either a willful rejection of long-term health or a romanticized concept of what HIV infection leads to.
Fighting amongst ourselves does nothing to advance the discussion and bring greater clarity to ending HIV. MIchael Weinstein's comments about Truvada being a "party drug" may have been flippant and imprecise, but in that sense he is no guiltier than those who flatly promote PrEP as "90- to 99-percent effective" without clarifying that such rates of risk reduction are hypothetical.