The AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein has been stirring up a ruckus lately after he callously dismissed HIV prevention method PrEP as a "party drug" and straight-up lying about its efficacy. His statements were so incendiary that it promoted Mr. LA Leather Eric Paul Leue to start a petition to have Weinstein removed as president of AHF.
Things died down for a bit, but now Weinstein has stepped back into the arena with an editorial on the New York Times where he continues to lie about PrEP.
PrEP has failed to protect the majority of men in every clinical trial.
False. The very study he links to in that line states:
- Of these [2,499] subjects, 10 were found to have been infected with HIV at enrollment, and 100 became infected during follow-up (36 in the FTC-TDF group and 64 in the placebo group), indicating a 44% reduction in the incidence of HIV.
- Reduction in risk for HIV acquisition was 21% among participants with <90% adherence and 73% with ≥90% adherence, highlighting the importance of adherence to a prophylactic regimen.
- Drug level testing showed a 92% reduction in risk for HIV acquisition in participants with detectable levels of TDF/FTC versus those with no drug detected.
Perhaps I'm misreading the stats, but that looks like it actually protected the majority of men who took the drug, particularly those who took it as prescribed.
Relying on negative men to take this medication every day just doesn't happen most of the time.
Speculation. And insulting. Men who are HIV+ are largely capable of taking their daily meds in order to stay healthy, and saying that gay men as a whole are incapable of adhering to a routine that is literally less work than brushing their teeth is a noxious level of infantilizing arrogance.
If you have multiple partners over a long period of time and you are not using condoms, there is a very high likelihood that you will turn H.I.V. positive or contract other S.T.D.'s.
Misleading. There is a higher likelihood of contracting HIV or other STDs (which, incidentally, PrEP has never once claimed to prevent) the more partners you have over a longer period of time, full stop. The more you play with the laws of averages, the closer your result gets to 1. Condoms do indeed make you safer; so does PrEP. It's not an either/or proposition, just more tools in the chest.
[C]ondom promotion remains the best strategy we have to protect our community.
False, and misleading. Condom use is an excellent strategy to prevent general STD transmission. Condoms, which incidentally aren't approved by the FDA for anal sex, have an effectiveness when used correctly of about 70% but have the added bonus of providing protection for an array of STDs beyond just HIV. PrEP's efficacy rate when taken correctly is roughly 92% according to the CDC.
It may not be fashionable to tell gay men that they need to use condoms, but it is the only strategy that has proven effective over the long term.
False. And again, condescending. And again, misleading. No one is complaining that condom promotion is passé. People are complaining that any attempt to find a better method, such as PrEP, is met with instant dismissal and derision (see: "Truvada Whore"). Additionally, it's disingenuous to hold PrEP to the "long term" standard when it's a relatively new treatment method that hasn't had the chance to prove long term effectiveness while at the same time utterly disregarding all of the evidence that says it most likely would be just as, if not more effective, in the long run.
Condoms are good. PrEP is also good. Both are effective tools in curbing the HIV plague, and gay men should be free to use the tools they feel protect them the best based on their individual circumstances without being misled by the lies of a moralistic proselytizer.