20 August, 2015 19:48

AIDS Healthcare Foundation Takes More Progressive Stance on PrEP, Following Longtime Opposition

A new ad campaign, “Finding Common Ground on PrEP,” hits gay publications nationwide this week.

Truvada PrEP pill

This week, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will release an advertisement in gay interest publications nationwide instructing readers on how to use Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The ad marks a turn in the organization’s stance on PrEP. It had previously opposed the drug.

The new campaign is titled “Reaching Common Ground on PrEP,” and can be seen here. The campaign still approaches PrEP as essentially unnecessary, it should be noted, saying that people who have sex using condoms do not need the drug and that people with HIV should seek medical attention to reduce their viral levels to the point that they are not infectious.

In an AHF press statement, organization president Michael Weinstein maintained that other measures may better combat HIV and AIDS on the community level.

“At the end of the day, PrEP is an individual option, not a general solution,” Weinstein said. “We believe PrEP should be prescribed on a case-by-case basis by medical providers working in conjunction with their patients, not as a community-wide public health intervention strategy, as the CDC recommended last summer when it recommended that 500,000 high-risk individuals go on PrEP.”

Weinstein drew scorn in April 2014 when he dismissed Truvada as a “party drug” in an interview with the Associated Press.

Mitchell Warren, president of global HIV advocacy group AVAC, was quoted in this articleas saying he was happy to see the change in AHF’s stance.

“The science is clear: PrEP works when you take it. Thousands of advocates, researchers, policy makers and, most importantly, individuals at risk in the United States and around the world have known this for several years now,” Warren said. “I am delighted that AHF has finally joined the rest of us. Their eleven principles are new to them, but are exactly what the rest of us have been advocating.”

The vast majority of leading AIDS organization endorse PrEP per the Center for Disease Control guidelines for its use.

Last week, AHF also debuted a new campaign “Straight Outta Condoms” to coincide with the release of the film Straight Outta Compton. It includes a PSA that will play in movie theaters nationwide.

By Drew Mackie.

Frontiers Media

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