The JP-based AIDS Action Committee is embracing a groundbreaking HIV prevention pill that has stirred debate.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended an HIV drug prevention program called PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, for people at high risk of obtaining the virus, such as gay men who have sex without condoms or drug users who use needles.
People on the PrEP program take a pill—the brand-name drug Truvada—every day that helps to prevent acquiring HIV.
But some groups have criticized the move, saying it will lead to riskier behavior. They include the prominent AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles, who blasted Truvada as a “party drug” in an Associated Press interview earlier this year.
Carl Sciortino, executive director of AIDS Action, called the criticism a “false controversy” and said his organization will be implementing PrEP guidelines into its services.
“The reality is, people have sex,” said Sciortino in a recent Gazette interview. “The reality is, people don’t always use condoms. PrEP will be an important tool in prevention.”
When asked about some groups criticizing the recommendation, Sciortino said he thinks it stems around how some people view gay men having sex and that it is “sad” that for the past 30 years “we can’t have a rational conversation around sex.” Sciortino is gay and has HIV.
He said that AIDS Action is reviewing its programs to see what materials and services will be affected by PrEP. AIDS Action’s staff is also being trained on it. Sciortino said the discussion around PrEP is important, as it is a relatively new program and people need to learn about it and get accurate information.
The CDC’s PrEP guidelines also call for extensive safe-sex counseling and regular doctor visits.
For more information, visit aac.org.