"Taking a T." That's what HIV-negative gay men call the growing practice of downing the AIDS drug tenofovir and, with fingers crossed, hoping it protects them from the virus during unprotected sex.
It's being sold in packets along with Viagra and Ecstasy in gay dance clubs — and even prescribed by physicians, say doctors and AIDS prevention experts. The trend has alarmed public health officials. There is no proof that tenofovir protects against HIV transmission, they say. People who practice unsafe sex while taking the drug could still become infected or suffer side effects from it.
Recreational use of AIDS drugs also might increase overall resistance to the medications, HIV experts say. "This is a very worrisome development," said Dr. David Hardy, an HIV doctor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He said the drug could lead to an even further erosion of condom use, which studies show has been falling among high-risk populations.
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