AIDS Healthcare Foundation Denounces PrEP Study: There Is No Magic Pill

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is denouncing the study of using existing HAART medications as a daily preventive for HIV infection. From their website, No Magic Pills:

AIDS Healthcare Foundation takes the matter of HIV prevention very seriously. We are concerned about the implications of a recent study of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) using Gilead Sciences, Inc.’s drug Truvada using 2,500 gay men and showing a 44% effectiveness rate in preventing HIV transmission. AHF supports continued research on HIV prevention, but opposes quick fixes that run the risk of contributing to the spread of HIV and drug-resistant viruses. Our community must consider these issues if we are going to offer up hundreds of thousands of gay men for this totally misguided experiment.

Jeff Berry, editor of Positively Aware, responds to a full-page ad published by AHF in this week’s edition of the Windy City Times.

Of course there is no magic pill. There has never been, and never will be, a one-size-fits-all method to prevent the spread of HIV. And for those populations who may be at higher risk, or who may not have the luxury of having all of the tools at their disposal (for example men or women whose partners are unwilling or unable to use a condom or other form of protection), if they could use a microbicide gel or even a pill to lessen their risk, why would we not want that?

Oral PrEP (if proven safe and effective), vaginal and rectal microbicides, condoms, risk-reduction and adherence counseling, treatment as prevention—all of these and other methods must be allowed to be fully explored and studied. We owe it to ourselves, our partners, our families, our friends, and to future generations. We cannot and must not allow politics or fear tactics to trump science—we are better than that. To do any less is a disservice to those whom we purport to serve.

VIDEO: Positively Aware writer Keith Romell explains PrEP.