Human Rights Campaign endorses use of controversial HIV prevention drugs

Nick Duffy October 19, 2014
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The largest gay rights charity in the US has endorsed the use of a controversial drug that can prevent transmission of HIV.

Truvada is a drug taken as part of a Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) regime – taken as a daily pill by people who do not have HIV, to minimise the risk of catching the virus from others.

It was approved in the US last year, and has been endorsed for use among gay men by the Centre for Disease Control, the World Health Organisation, and a number of HIV charities – but it has been met with condemnation by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The AHF claims that Truvada will wrongly be seen as an alternative to condoms, and points out that the pill’s effectiveness is decreased when it is not taken daily – with the group’s President Michael Weinstein labelling it a “party drug”.

However, it has today won the backing of the Human Rights Campaign – the largest gay rights charity in the US.

A statement from HRC said: “When taken as prescribed by a knowledgeable healthcare provider, and paired with other safer sex practices, Truvada can reduce the risk of contracting HIV by upwards of 90 percent.

“HRC does not take this position lightly. We recognize there is still ongoing debate about PrEP, and that there are those out there who will disagree with our stance.

“However, HRC does not believe this is reason enough to justify denying people the opportunity to make an informed decision about PrEP with a knowledgeable healthcare provider.

“Nor does it justify stigmatizing those who may ultimately decide to use PrEP.”

The charity has also launched guidance for people considering using PrEP.

In the UK, it was announced last week that a two-year study into whether PrEP should be routinely made available on the NHS for gay and bisexual men will be fast-tracked.

More: AIDS, Charity, drug, Gay, Gay rights, HIV, Men, PrEP, US

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