The Human Rights Campaign has consistently pushed the federal government to respond to the HIV/AIDS crisis while educating LGBT people and our allies about the disease and how best to respond to it. HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects members of the LGBT community, and despite nearly 30 years of research, there are still 50,000 new cases of HIV each year, two-thirds of which are among gay and bisexual men. In addition, transgender women are also at high risk of contracting HIV.
To help stem the tide and stop the epidemic in its tracks, HRC is endorsing Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) – an HIV prevention strategy that includes taking anti-HIV medication to significantly reduce the risk of contracting HIV. Specifically, HRC is explicitly endorsing the use of Truvada, the only brand name anti-HIV drug combination currently approved for PrEP.
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.
It is important to note that HRC’s recommendation applies especially to populations deemed most vulnerable to HIV infection. Truvada is not right for all individuals, and any medical decision should be made in concert with a knowledgeable healthcare provider.
It is also important to understand that Truvada does not provide protection against other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). With STDs such as syphilis on the rise, and with their capacity to lead to life-threatening conditions if untreated, it’s essential for sexually active individuals to protect themselves and always engage in safer sex practices and get tested regularly.
HRC has released a policy paper supporting PrEP and calling on insurers, regulators, and drug manufacturers to make PrEP available to all medically-qualified individuals, regardless of socioeconomic barriers.
Three things to know about PrEP and Truvada:
- PrEP isn’t just a pill, it’s a prevention strategy. PrEP is a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy that includes routine testing for STDs, risk-reduction counseling, and safer sex practices, in addition to taking Truvada, the only brand name anti-HIV drug combination currently approved for preventive use.
- Interested in taking Truvada? See your doctor and if prescribed, take it EXACTLY as recommended. You should only make a decision about whether or not Truvada is right for you with the help of a knowledgeable medical professional. Though Truvada is safe, side effects are possible and only a medical professional can help you figure out if PrEP is right for you.
- On Truvada? Take EXACTLY AS PRESCRIBED. One of the largest studies performed on PrEP showed that when patients took Truvada regularly, the rate of HIV transmission dropped by as much as 92 percent. But taking the medication as prescribed is critical to ensuring its efficacy. No different than taking birth control or cholesterol medication, Truvada is only effective when taken EXACTLY as prescribed. It is also important to note that PrEP does not protect against any other STDs so sexually active individuals should always engage in safer sex practices and get tested regularly.
HRC believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make an informed choice about their sexual health and about PrEP with an informed healthcare provider. PrEP should only be utilized in combination with other safer sex practices – including continued condom use – and patients need to stay on their medications. HRC believes that all PrEP users should be educated about their medications and the potential side effects, establish dosing routines that work for them, and work around financial or health needs that may impede adherence, as well as seek out social support.