GMHC To Host PrEP Rally

Gay Men’s Health Crisis will host a “PrEP Rally” on February 2nd to discuss the use of Truvada as a daily HIV preventive. From their Facebook event page: “Heard about PrEP & Truvada? Not sure if it’s right for you? Not sure how to get it with or without insurance? Let’s clear up some rumors and get the facts! Join our panel of experts as we bring you up to speed on the latest information, facts, controversies, and answer your burning questions.” 

Among the panelists is a representative from Gilead, the maker of Truvada. To my knowledge, Gilead has not yet countered the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s many anti-Truvada ads with a print campaign of their own, although they do have a “risk evaluation and mitigation strategy” website which stipulates that Truvada “does not replace existing prophylaxis strategies.” Truvada’s use as an HIV preventive has been endorsed by almost all HIV/AIDS groups and the health departments of several major cities. Last year the CDC issued its own usage guidelines.

  • Guest

    I want to get everyone’s opinion on something that happened to me recently. Down here in Wilton Manors, AHF operates a few vans that you can go in and get a free rapid test almost any night of the week. A fantastic thing, to be sure. That said, the test is FAR from anonymous. They ask you for your name, drivers license, and sometimes even social security number. They also ask you a lot of questions about your sexual history. I was getting my tested a week or so ago, and when the technician asked me my sexual history, he goes “Oh, you’re a good boy.” Does is strike anyone else as wildly inappropriate for the technician to give a commentary on my sexual practices, especially if the goal is to get people to keep coming back so that they know their status? A couple of my friends are telling me that I’m overreacting, and that when I’m getting my status checked for free, outside of a bar, at 1 AM, I should expect a more relaxed atmosphere.

    • Lumpy Gaga

      Does is strike anyone else as wildly inappropriate for the technician to give a commentary on my sexual practices

      Was he cute?

      • oikos

        Come sit on my lap. :))

      • Goodboy

        Yeah, baby. They call me goodboy for a reason. As in real good if ya know what I mean..

        • LonelyLiberal

          A boy who’s so bad he’s good to find?

    • uhhuhh

      AHF is chock full of judgmental fanatics. Next time, tell the technician that when you want his opinion of your personal life, you’ll ask for it.

      Better still, tell him your sexual history is none of their goddamned business.

    • Dennis

      Yes. I expect a medical professional testing for HIV to act appropriately based on the task on hand.
      “Good boy”? What is that supposed to mean? When did you become my mother?
      “Ok, your sexual history doesn’t put you at a high risk of infection.” is better.
      There will be some people here who disagree and who would be fine with this, but it’s my body, my health, my choices and decisions. I would firmly tell the technician I don’t appreciate his familiarity.

      • Goodboy

        I never said I was. I don’t get into that kind of play;-)

    • fkevin

      As this is a community outreach program staffed by members of the community who are in a van outside a bar at 1am, I would regard this a playful gay bantering.

      • fuow

        Me, too – but to the PC-Police, it’s a crime.

    • Gerry Fisher

      >and when the technician asked me my sexual history, he goes “Oh, you’re a good boy.”

      Ohhhhhh, not good. I know the person was trying to validate and reinforce your behavior, which is a good general technique for helping and medical professionals. But it begs the question of how this person behaves with the “bad” boys. It also begs the question as to whether this person understands that many people don’t accurately report. It can be an indicator of potentially less than stellar service being provided to *others*.

      S/he could use some minor retraining from a supervisor, IMO. Sending a note to the patient/customer service rep could be very helpful.

      (FWIW, I have a master’s in social work, and I was a licensed mental health counselor for 10 years. I’m using standards that would have been applied to me, which are not exactly the same as those applied to the techs, but they’re close.)

    • BobSF_94117

      Since when does encouragement hurt?

      I’ve certainly had technicians and doctors “complement” my success in maintaining safe-sex practices. At 1 A.M., especially, you should cut them some slack.

  • Mister Don

    Regardless of anything else, one must heed the warnings about creatinine levels. Mine zoomed up to 1.46 without any history of kidney problems and my PCP promptly yanked me off it,

    • band

      And with required quarterly lab tests, anyone on PrEP has their kidney function closely monitored.

      • Gerry Fisher

        Yep. The standard procedure screens for that.

  • GarySFBCN

    I support people using PrEP and I think the event is a GREAT idea, but including a representative from Gilead is a horrible idea.

    Regardless of their programs to practically give the stuff away, there is a conflict of interest – they profit from people using Truvada.

    • Estrafalario

      Why not. They’re the ones making the money here.

    • Dramphooey

      That’s like the call for Kagan and Ginsberg to recuse themselves. We don’t need a bunch of people giving opinions on Truvada because you can find that anywhere. We need people that know what they’re talking about.

      • Lumpy Gaga

        Fox, meet henhouse.

        • Dramphooey

          So if someone repeated the old right wing lie about HIV being able to pass through condoms we couldn’t call a representative from Trojan to refute that? Fox, meet henhouse?

          • Lumpy Gaga

            On “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”, you can call whoever you like when you’re stuck.

      • Lumpy Gaga

        Participant is a “representative”.

        Whether he’s an actual scientist is still unknown.

        • band

          Actually, the Gilead participant is a doctor, which is known to anyone who bothers to follow the link Joe posted.

          • Lumpy Gaga

            ObElaineMay: “And that man is a DOCTOR.”

      • GarySFBCN

        No, it is not. Are Kagan and Ginsberg likely to profit from a SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage? Nope.

        • Dramphooey

          Okay, I’ll concede that. How about a gay judge recusing himself? Or the plaintiffs being denied the right to say how they are being hurt?

          • GarySFBCN

            Judges swear to be impartial and can be fired, fined, etc. if they are not. They are held to a high standard and must undergo scrutiny.

            Representatives of mega-pharma corporations are not expected to represent the interests of anyone other than the financial interests of their companies.

            I don’t see the comparison, but then, the day isn’t going how I planned so it could be me.

          • Dramphooey

            The judge still has the ability to profit and in cases where there actually is a conflict of interest they do recuse themselves.

            I do not get why some people only want to see one sided debates. As others have said the rep will be clearly identified. Or do we want to see Clint Eastwood talking to any empty chair that represents Gilead?

          • GarySFBCN

            It’s not about a debate.

            Enjoy your marketing presentation. Don’t buy the condo.

          • Dramphooey

            Well, it says panel of experts. Go ahead and list why you think these individuals are frauds or shills for Gilead. It might be helpful to have a list of the participants here, anyhow.

          • GarySFBCN

            Here:

            Panelists will be:

            Damon L. Jacobs – PrEP Advocate / Therapist

            Dr. Gal Mayer – Associate Director at Gilead Sciences

            Kimberleigh Smith – Vice President,
            Policy & Advocacy at Harlem United

            Kelsey Louie – CEO at GMHC

            Mathew K. Rodriguez – Journalist / Activist

        • leastyebejudged

          Exactly; the whole attempt to get them to recuse themselves from ruling isn’t based on any perceived personal benefit they might have, which is nonexistent. It’s merely a publicity stunt.

    • Lumpy Gaga

      First taste is always free.

      • Todd20036

        What’s wrong with tasting a little Chechen?

        That was supposed to say chicken. Cool autocorrect

    • band

      Who better to discuss Gilead’s patient assistance program?

      • GarySFBCN

        Someone who knows the patient assistance program and doesn’t represent the company that profits from the sales of Truvada.

        • band

          That’s ridiculous. The mere presence of a representative from Gilead on the panel does not constitute a conflict of interest. He or she will be clearly identified as a rep from the company that sells Truvada. With that disclosure, everyone attending the forum has all the information they need to critically evaluate whatever the rep says.

          • customartist

            It’s suspicious

          • Estrafalario

            It’s only suspicious if it’s not declared. Look, it’s not a panel about a “type” of drug, it’s a panel about A drug. A particularly trademarked, megacorp-owned drug. They’re using the TMd name on the thing. Go all the way I say.

          • GarySFBCN

            According to their Facebook page, they have changed the name of the event to exclude Truvada:

            “NY PrEP Update – What You Need To Know in 2015.”

            https://www.facebook.com/events/341409019376320/

          • Estrafalario

            Well, that just proves they didn’t know what they were doing.

          • GarySFBCN

            You wrote that the event wasn’t about a class of drug – that it was about A drug. But now it is about PrEP and not Truvada.

          • Estrafalario

            There are other PrEP drugs other than Truvada? <–serious question here. As I stated elsewhere, I'm not up on this.

          • band

            No, there are no other drugs currently approved for PrEP. So, any current panel about PrEP is about Truvada.

          • Estrafalario

            That’s what I figured but wanted to know. Thanks for the information.

          • band

            As were the moon landing and Beyonc√©’s baby bump.

          • GarySFBCN

            With all the phony but well-played controversy about Truvada, it would be best to not have a Gilead representative present. It creates the appearance of impropriety and will make some ask who is funding the event.

          • Estrafalario

            They’re having a panel about Gilead’s trademarked product. They own it. Why not have someone from the the corporation that’s making the money off of this. It seems like transparency of the highest order.

          • GarySFBCN

            OK. You win. Enjoy your transparent marketing presentation.

            Having served on a Ryan White Planning Council for 3 years sometime back, we would not have allowed this.

          • band

            It’s a 5-person panel including a representative from Harlem United and a journalist. Not exactly what one would cook up for a “transparent marketing presentation.”

          • Estrafalario

            You were smarter than these organizers. Bravo. I mean it too, not being snarky here. But this is what you get when an organization shills for a brand-name product, which is what this is. I’m agnostic on the whole debate here, but this is what’s going on here. If that’s the case the owners of the product *should* be there.

          • GarySFBCN

            Thanks but it was the committee that I was part of, not me. And yes, it if it all about Truvada, maybe it isn’t so bad that a rep is there. You and band have softened my opinion.

          • band

            It creates an opportunity for people with HIV to address Gilead directly and publicly, perhaps to criticize their pricing of Truvada or the outrageous pricing of Gilead’s hep C drug.

            Where else is that going to happen?

          • GarySFBCN

            Let me know if that does happen. It would seem that Dr. Gal Mayer isn’t the appropriate person to whom these policy/pricing issues should be addressed.

            I still believe that it is inappropriate for THIS forum, a forum that is supposed to deal with rumors.

    • Gerry Fisher

      Agreed. I wouldn’t think that it would be hard to find someone who can speak to the chemistry and test results who isn’t an employee of the company.

    • BobSF_94117

      I assume the rep is there to answer questions. That sounds like a good thing.

  • Estrafalario

    There is a balm in Gilead?

  • customartist

    The drug might be additionally useful, but it gives some in the community the false sense of security, without using condoms.
    This should be made crystal clear.

    • Goodboy

      What’s the point of taking the pill if you’re still going to use condoms. I thought it was just as effective.

      • vorpal

        Myriad other STIs should still prompt one to use condoms, while the pill adds an extra layer of security?

        • Goodboy

          Yes but a condom won’t necessarily protect you from them either.

          I just don’t see most people using both forms of protection. Usually all I see or hear are ads wanting to BB because they’re on PreP.

          • customartist

            I can say with absolute certainty that I would never do BB, and I would only be platonic friends with anyone who did. Trying not to judge, but just stating my personal position.
            Maybe the ones doing the advertizing are more active? I would LIKE to do every man I see, but I can be satisfied with reasonable moderation. I would LIKE to eat bacon and chocolate for every meal. (again just making a point, not being snippy)

          • Gerry Fisher

            Just in terms of preventing disease, I don’t understand why you can’t use a condom, which would make your partner’s barebacking irrelevant.

            And why is “BB” inherently bad? Could you ever imagine a straight man saying that he’d never bareback? (Not that he’d necessarily know what that term means, but you know what I’m saying.) If you’re both monogamous for a number of years, why not combine testing with condomless sex?

            Again, I’m not interested in trying to get anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. And people can decline activities for purely emotional reasons; that’s valid. Let’s just be clear when we’re making decisions that are more emotional than rational.

          • Todd20036

            And that’s where Prep comes in. People want to bareback and most things that are contagious are treatable EXCEPT for HIV

            Put another way, plenty of people bare backed before HIV took hold. Now that HIV is preventable or treatable, people want to bareback again

          • Goodboy

            Yup. Fuck like it’s the 70’s. Pisses me off though because I missed the 70’s too ;-(

          • Gerry Fisher

            I think it’s also important to point out that there is a middle ground between “never bareback!!!” and “I want to lie face down at the baths and take all comers…four or five days a week.” There are some who would like to “bareback under some circumstances other than a monogamous relationship.” PrEP would be good for those situations.

            There are also some who might go wild initially due to the burst of freedom and then reign it in over time.

            I think that the “be careful with sex, because there are multiple types of significant risk!” discussion is a *great* one. (I hardly *ever* hear helpful discussions about heartbreak or social embarrassment. In my counseling career, those are two side effects of sex that cause huge amounts of pain and suffering for people, and no one seems concerned with offering any kid of “prophylactic” for those things.) My main point is that, when the “risk” discussion is happening in the context of PrEP, it’s often clear that it’s coming along with a chaser of “don’t use PrEP.”

            The most helpful analogy I’ve seen is with women and the pill. Do some women use the pill to be absolute sluts and do they contract STDs? Yeah, I’m sure some do. Do we use that as an excuse to question use of the pill generally in society? No.

        • pipslvr

          Let’s not perpetuate the myth that wrapping a condom around the shaft of your penis during anal sex makes magically disappear all STDs flying through everywhere else.

          Do people actually realize the vast majority of STDs are actually got through oral sex? Not making it up (https://www.sfdph.org/dph/files/reports/StudiesData/STD/STD112014.pdf)

        • Gerry Fisher

          Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Depends on how well you know your partners, right? Do straight men use condoms every single time, in all contexts?

          • Huntington

            Or do straight women insist that men do? Of course not.

      • customartist

        “It” meaning the pill?
        No, it’s not “just as effective”.
        This is the misconception.
        (no offense intended)

        • Goodboy

          I thought that they’ve done actual studies that show’d it to be on par with condoms in effectiveness when used the right way.

          • customartist

            I don’t claim to be all-knowing, but I would certainly like to see any credible studies confirming that.

          • Goodboy

            This one was done by the NIH. It was called the iPrEx study.

            Among participants whose blood analyses indicated that they took PrEP 7 days a week, HIV acquisition risk was reduced by 99%. Among those who took the drug 4 days a week, the risk of HIV acquisition was reduced by 96%.[4]

          • customartist

            Thanks, but I suppose that there is an element of trust, whereby you, or I, must TRUST that the person with whom I am having otherwise unprotected sex with is indeed medicated, and properly so. I don’t trust the mechanic, or the plumber. Just sayin’.
            I don’t trust the integrity of strangers, especially when the stakes are so high. You may if you like. I don’t make any assertions of what you should do. Just don’t get insulted when I, or others, reject your offers to indulge in BB, OK?
            And in fact, at this [advanced] age – LOL, I would not be having sex with anyone who did not first intend to be temporarily monogamous, and secondly get a screening done and provide the results to me.

          • Goodboy

            Umm..I didn’t mean this as having to do with me. Just my observations.

          • Todd20036

            Condoms break too. If you are on prep, you control your risk of getting HIV. All by yourself

          • band

            So, when supplied with the data you’ve been asking for, . . . you move the goalposts, and suddenly we’re talking not about efficacy but about your own personal decision-making when it comes to sex and sex partners.

            This might be a good time for you to consider whether your knowledge of the facts is driving your negative opinion of PrEP or whether your negative opinion precedes and overrides any facts that might be shared with you.

          • customartist

            I think both should be used, for people having continuous multiple partners.
            Do you need confirmation that data was supplied. *Pling* its granted.
            I will discuss all of my concerns, even if you wish to condemn them.

          • band

            I haven’t “condemned” anything. But I can certainly understand why you would be so defensive.

          • Gerry Fisher

            I think what several of us are reacting to is the implication that your level of risk aversion and emphasis on relationship “should” be some kind of standard that everyone uses. I actually think that your approach is a great one that will be highly likely to lead to a trusted, excellent relationship between two very physically healthy men. Way to go, man! Seriously!

            Having said that, not everyone can behave as you do; for them, PrEP might be a most excellent tool. I don’t think it’s wise to lobby hard against PrEP because it’s absolutely the wrong choice for you.

          • pipslvr

            If you are on PrEP you only have to trust yourself. If you take it daily it reduces your chances of getting HIV 99% regardless what your partner is doing.

            This is different than condoms where you have to trust the other person to wear them and the person at risk, the bottom, has to pray they won’t break, the other person put them properly and throughout the sex session.

          • Gerry Fisher

            >Thanks, but I suppose that there is an element of trust, whereby you, or
            I, must TRUST that the person with whom I am having otherwise
            unprotected sex with is indeed medicated

            You’ve got it backward. If *you* are medicated (you’re in control of that), then you are 99% protected from HIV infection if *he* is positive.

            Here’s where it gets really interesting. If he is HIV positive and taking his medications properly (“undetectable”), then he’s vastly reduced the possibility putting enough virus into you so that it will “take.” If by slim chance that happens, then *your* PrEP will prevent that HIV from taking hold in your body. His meds and your meds form a double protection.

            Here’s the mind bender: for someone on PrEP, it might actually be a wiser choice to have condomless sex with undetectable poz men than it would be to have unprotected sex with men who say that they are negative but who don’t test super regularly (most neg men). Why? Because someone who says that they are “neg” and who is unaware that they have just recently converted is actually more “potent.” They have more virus that will be put into you, which would be more virus that your PrEP would have to fight off.

            You can reduce risk even *further* by only doing this as a top, and not as a bottom for anal sex. You can reduce the risk even FURTHER by adding a condom. If you are mega, MEGA risk aversive, you can reduce the risk even further by not having condomless sex. It’s all about one’s risk tolerance, which is emotional, not 100% logical.

            To get at this granularity of how things work, it can be helpful to have discussions with mixed status couples who are brave enough to be open and honest about their sexual practices. Because we’re trying to talk about The Seks!!!, it’s hard to get people to be really honest about what they are doing out there and how it’s all working out.

            All I’ll say is that “never have sex with a poz person” and “always use a condom” is NOT what’s happening out there. And massive conversions to HIV+ status are not resulting. PrEP would reduce the conversions even further.

      • Gerry Fisher

        It’s a personal decision, and one of the primary benefits to many people is the removal of what one person called “the specter of death” from your sex life, which can be a big benefit emotionally. For some people who are only tops and who use rubbers, they are *still* so freaked out by HIV that the added protection of PrEP helps them emotionally. I know it’s not a decision a lot of us would make, but I’ve seen some men make it.

    • leastyebejudged

      Some people are never going to “get” it.

      And by “never going to ‘get’ it” I mean determined to collect and spread as many STI’s as possible, regardless of public policy and efforts to educate them.

      It’s a reality that can not be stressed enough.

      • customartist

        One can participate with reasonable precautions.
        I am not convinced of the pill’s effectiveness [or with all individuals].
        Condoms have a certain success rate, regardless of individual biological factors.
        Others may do as they like, but this is where I draw MY line.

        • leastyebejudged

          And there’s nothing wrong with that.

          It’s all about personal informed choice and personal responsibility.

          • customartist

            I do care for my fellow man

          • uhhuhh

            Not for AHF, it isn’t. It’s about enacting bans, censoring what may be seen, and slut-shaming.

        • Gerry Fisher

          >I am not convinced of the pill’s effectiveness

          Based on what?

          (And I’m not interested in lobbying you to do anything you don’t want to do,)

    • Todd20036

      Against HIV? It’s that good. Against other stds? No one is claiming it stops anything else

    • pipslvr

      I don’t get your point. What ‘false sense of security’ is this? PrEP is 99% effective if taken every day. Condoms are 90% effective when worn properly. Both methods protect people from getting HIV. There is no false sense of security.. someone on PrEP is protected. someone using condoms is protected. Options. great.

      • customartist

        See Todd’s response below. If HIV is your only concern, and if you are comfortable with the possibility of other diseases, then go for it.

        • pipslvr

          a condom during anal sex will offer little protection for most of other STDs if that’s the point you are trying to make.

          Gono, clam, HPV, Herpes, Syphilis… they are all easy to contract during oral sex or simply touching someone (HPV and herpes). Condoms are pretty useless for HPV and herpes because the lesions are usually in areas the condoms don’t cover.

          I guess if you used condoms or dental dams for oral it would help quite a bit, but frankly I don’t know anyone who does such a thing.

          There is always an inherent risk of catching something with whatever you do with someone. It’s a fact of life. PrEP doesn’t really change any of this, other than you can now consider not using condoms for anal sex.

        • Gerry Fisher

          That’s why we need to expand the conversation, such as hosting panel discussions. Virtually eliminating the possibility of contracting HIV combined with another choice or two (condom use OR selective non-condom use) could be a sex-positive, healthy way to express one’s sexuality.

          But the nuances take time to explain and discuss…

    • Gerry Fisher

      Umm, I think that’s the purpose of the panel discussion. It’s hard to be “crystal clear” succinctly about a complex issue. It needs discussion.

  • uhhuhh

    GMHC should increase its security. AHF nutcases will now be plotting to bomb it, using the tactics of their mentors, anti-abortion nutcases.

  • Todd20036

    And Truthvada just died a little

  • Oh Henry

    It’s gotten far too difficult having sex these days. I’m moving to an easier planet.

  • BeaverTales

    Now gay guys can enjoy the feeling of being like a young fertile female…taking this daily would be just like a birth control pill.

    • Goodboy

      That’s a great comparison.

    • Todd20036

      “I AM NOT A FISH!”

      Points for anyone who csn say where that’s from

  • fuow

    Cue the usual hysterical slut-shaming and anti-science nutjobs.

  • Gerry Fisher

    It’s good to see more open discussion about this. (Discussion in this blog’s actually been pretty good.) Most of the time, getting information about this medication seems like a whisper campaign within the community.

  • ryan charisma

    Gilead will be there? That must be to assure our community that they’re going to lower the price and release the formula to be replicated by other pharma companies.

    I didn’t think so.

  • e jerry powell

    Yeah, well. Given the history between the State of Texas and Merck (or, I should say, between Rick Perry and Merck) over Gardasil, I retain a healthy skepticism. Not about Truvada, but about Gilead.

  • Oops I reviewed the Mississippi court hearing in the wrong thread. What’s the topic? Oh, Truvada! I actually dreamed about Truvada/Prep last night. A handsome guy I knew in the dream [sorry in rea life no idea who he is ] told me he realized he was gay -one of those idiots who until he admits to himself he’s gay thinks it’s ok not to take precautions] So now he was terrified about his health. And I was telling him the importance of learning about this medicine. He was interested, very interested, but when I mentioned it was expensive and insurance would help he looked at me with annoyed anger. When I woke up I recalled there were some free programs at least in the works. Any messages for Dream Guy, should I see him again? No phone numbers, I cant recall numbers in dreams. Will add photo in comment

  • Gay Fordham Prep Grad

    The patent expires in Europe in 2018 and in the US in 2021 so there is an incentive for Gilead to get as many on board and paying before then.

  • david

    sadly- half the people reading don’t know that a prophylaxis is a condom….people DO think they can take prep without using condoms- that message- prep AND condoms, needs to be driven home more!!!