Move over, condoms! Porn has a new debate: Truvada

May 13, 2014
AB1576
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The porn industry is calling for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to get on board with HIV prevention and education — and, no, I didn’t get the subject and object of that sentence confused.

For so long now, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has campaigned to make condoms mandatory in the adult industry. Much of the industry has resisted, due to concerns about free speech and performer agency, among many others.

Now, Peter Acworth, CEO of Kink.com, is turning it around on AHF, basically saying, If you guys are so interested in preventing the spread of HIV, why don’t you support our initiative to educate porn performers about Truvada, an antiretroviral that can be taken by those who engage in high-risk sex to prevent  HIV transmission.

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A new debate

In an open letter to AHF President Michael Weinstein, Acworth wrote,“The fact is, none of the performers you bring to your press conferences would have been protected had AB1576 [a bill requiring condoms in porn] been passed ten years ago, because no California condom law is going to protect performers during their personal lives, or shooting on unregulated sets overseas,” says Acworth, referring to the news in 2004 that performer Darren James had contracted HIV during a shoot in Brazil.

“PrEP, if it works as advertised, could do just that.”

Indeed, researchers have found that when taken as directed, Truvada could decrease transmission risk by 99 percent among heterosexual men and women. When the FDA approved the drug in 2012, it specifically listed sex workers as a key demographic.

Acworth went on to say, “We’ve recently begun working with HIV and sex worker health organizations to develop an educational program about PrEP specifically targeting adult performers — it would be great if you could be a part of it.”

It’s not too likely that Weinstein will go for this. Last month, he told the Associated Press, “If something comes along that’s better than condoms, I’m all for it, but Truvada is not that,” he said. “Let’s be honest: It’s a party drug.”

As you might expect, that remark did not go over so well. In response, a petition was started to have Weinstein removed as president of the organization.

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Ernest Greene
Ernest Greene
7 years ago

AHF is not about prevention. It’s about money. Ever see The Third Man with Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton? Remember the scene on the ferris wheel where Welles, who is dealing adulterated penicillin during a meningitis epidemic, looks down at the people on the ground and tells Cotton that they’re all just dots to him?

That’s Weinstein’s perspective. He’s the Harry Lime of HIV.

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