AIDS Activist Opposes New HIV Medication For Prevention (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Truvada (also known as PrEP) is a medication made of tenofovir and emtricitabine, which stop the HIV lifecycle by blocking the replication of HIV cells inside the body.

While hailed as a breakthrough by many, Michael Weinstein, co-founder and president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, opposes Truvada as a daily prevention measure.

The New York Times reported in 2014: "Weinstein has called the use of Truvada to prevent H.I.V. — a practice known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP — 'a public health disaster in the making.' He has called Truvada a 'party drug' and asserted that his loudest opponents on the issue have 'all been associated with bareback porn.'"

VICE recently released a video (below) entitled "The End of HIV? - The Truvada Revolution" featuring medical, activist and patient supporters of Truvada, and Weinstein who voices his opposition:

So, the question about PrEP is, "Does the scientific data support it as a public health intervention?" And that answer is conclusively "no." Adherence is a huge obstacle. Getting people to take their medication every day is very difficult, so when you're looking to control the spread of HIV across a whole population group it has not been effective.

I mean, I see really there being a war on prevention. We need to revive the prevention movement that existed in the 80s and 90s. We're gonna do that by distributing condoms in bars, by putting out billboards.

Weinstein then showed an ad/open letter to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) by his organization entitled, "What if you're wrong about PrEP?"

The CDC website states:

When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by up to 92%. PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently.

PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool and can be combined with condoms and other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than when used alone. But people who use PrEP must commit to taking the drug every day and seeing their health care provider for follow-up every 3 months.

The main possible side effects include decreased bone mineral density, which isn't progressive, and decreased kidney function, which still stays within the normal range, according to Dr. Howard Grossman in the video.

(Note: Weinstein comments begin at 10:00 mark)

Sources: VICE, Centers For Disease Control, The New York Times
Image Credit: VICE Screenshot