An editorial in today’s Bay Area Reporter correctly blasts the AIDS Healthcare Foundation for its lawsuit against Pfizer, taking aim at AHF head Michael Weinstein and San Francisco “STD chief” Jeffrey Klausner.
Many gay AIDS activists have major issues with Klausner’s repeated attempts to stigmatize gay men with leading irresponsible sex lives. And by extension, AHF and Klausner’s position is patronizing to gay men by implying – incorrectly – that gay men who use Viagra somehow can’t put on a condom.
What’s most disturbing about AHF’s lawsuit is the complete lack of hard data to support its contention. In fact, a recent review of published studies showed no convincing evidence to support Klausner’s claims that use of Viagra leads to HIV infections.
“Health care providers should be reminded that individuals infected with HIV frequently have erectile dysfunction from their disease or from pharmacologic agents commonly used in its treatment,” said Irwin Goldstein, editor of the Journal of Sexual Medicine , which published findings of the review conference.
If AHF wants to secure funding from pharmaceutical companies, it should submit grant applications, and not resort to demeaning gay men with HIV/AIDS without rigorous scientific evidence to support its claims.
Right fucking on. For many men whose sex lives have been wrecked by the side-effects of HIV medications, not to mention the immense emotional burden that slams home everytime they try to put on a condom, Viagra has been a salvation, a wonder drug. For many, sex without Viagra (or its competitors) is impossible. And one can argue that for many, life without sex would be impossible. Demonizing a powerful quality-of-life drug in a misguided campaign to fight the crystal meth epidemic is flat out wrong.