AIDS activist Larry Kramer has changed his mind about HIV-preventing drugs
Larry Kramer has reportedly backed down in his opposition to HIV-preventing PrEP drugs.
Pre-exposure Prophylaxis drug Truvada can drastically reduce people’s chances of getting HIV if taken daily.
The drug has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation and is routinely available to at-risk men in the US – though it is yet to become available in the UK despite a successful trial.
However, Truvada as an HIV-preventing drug continues to be opposed by the divisive AIDS Healthcare Foundation – which broke from other HIV organisations to come out against PrEP, claiming it encourages men not to use condoms.
This week, gay rights veteran Larry Kramer of ACT UP – once fiercely opposed to PrEP – appears to have changed his stance.
Kramer claimed in 2014: “There’s something to me cowardly about taking Truvada instead of using a condom.
“You’re taking a drug that is poison to you, and it has lessened your energy to fight, to get involved, to do anything.”
However, after a meeting with other AIDS campaigners and activists from across the generations, Peter Staley of the Treatment Action Group says there was unity on the issue.
According to Out, Staley wrote: “We – AIDS activists, new and old, aged 24 to 80 – have just broken bread in the same apartment where GMHC was formed, coming together for a lively discussion on how to reduce HIV infections among gay men and trans women.
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“Although we may not see eye-to-eye on every issue we debated tonight, we all agree that Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is highly effective at protecting a person from HIV infection.
“While PrEP isn’t for everyone, any individual who thinks they are at risk of getting HIV should have easy access to it, without judgement.”
“We are fed up with Gilead’s abusive pricing of its near monopolies in drugs that treat and prevent HIV.
“Truvada as PrEP was not their idea, and came to market based on research they didn’t pay for. Gilead’s PrEP profiteering must end.
“Full access to lifesaving drugs has been a hallmark of our movement, and we will join with AIDS activists across America and around the world to double-down on this push for health equity.”
He added: “PrEP, along with condoms, TasP (Treatment as Prevention), and better access to healthcare, are now essential public health tools in lowering HIV infections among gay men and trans women.
“We must use every tool necessary to help them – and to help all those at risk – stop this virus, once and for all.”