Truvada prevents people from getting sick — and doesn’t encourage dangerous behavior
Thirty years ago, there were New Yorkers who didn’t expect to live to today. If the history of the HIV and AIDS epidemic has taught us anything, it’s that life begins the moment we stop being afraid.
But for those seeking out PrEP — a new HIV-prevention pill — fear tactics are still blocking the way. Misleading new ads from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation running in New York and across the country are scaring at-risk people from using PrEP, also known as Truvada, and could lead to new infections.
Since the height of the crisis, HIV and AIDS advocates have heard opinions that invoke public fear and demonize those affected by the epidemic.
The new ads raise a whole new level of concern.
As the studies cited by the Foundation’s own ads have shown Truvada is a potentially life-saving pill that, when taken daily, is over 90% effective in preventing HIV infections in HIV-negative individuals. Like birth control or numerous other medications, daily adherence to PrEP greatly improves its effectiveness.
But rather than promote its proper use, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation is warning at-risk people against using PrEP as an HIV-prevention method altogether. In doing so, the Foundation is relying on the same fear tactics that once spread panic and misinformation when the disease first emerged.
There have been 50,000 new HIV infections every single year in the United States over the past decade, and current methods have not reduced that number. PrEP offers us a new and potentially powerful tool to prevent new infections, which is key to eliminating this epidemic once and for all.