CDC Endorses Truvada; Time To Rethink The Health Policies Of The Adult Industry?

XBIZ had a new story out Thursday about the AIDS prevention drug Truvada. I have to commend XBIZ, they’ve been at the forefront of this issue.

From XBIZ:

“Federal health officials publicly recommended yesterday that hundred of thousands of Americans at risk for AIDS take Truvada, a drug known to prevent infection with HIV.”

“The drug regimen proposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called PrEP for pre-exposure prophylaxis, would, if adopted broadly, increase the number of Truvada prescriptions in the U.S. from under to 10,000 to 500,000 — a 50-fold increase, the NY Times reported.”

“The guidelines advise doctors to consider prescribing the daily drug regimen to high risk demographics like gay and bi men who have sex without condoms, men and women who have a sexual partner that is already infected, and anyone who shares needles, injects drugs or sleeps with someone who does.”

“The CDC’s endorsement comes amid a time of troubling stats: rates of HIV infections in the U.S. have barely changed in the last decade, retaining a rate of about 50,000 a year, while condom use has reportedly fell around 20 percent from 2005 to 2011.”

“Although Truvada carries a relatively high price tag at $13,000 a year, it is already covered by most insurers. It is also known to be low in side effects and has become a go to-method of AIDs treatment in poor countries like India, where generic forms are manufactured.”

“Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute and Infectious Diseases and considered by the NY Times to be the best-known AIDS doctor, openly endorsed the CDC’s announcement.”

“Making the perfect the enemy of the good is something we’ve got to get over,” Dr. Fauci said. “I strongly support the C.D.C. doing this.”

“Many AIDS specialists have long advocated for the use of Truvada as a prophylactic, but some doctors and members of the gay community, notably AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein, have opposed it. Critics of PrEP argue that it validates irresponsible sexual relations; Weinstein referred to it as a “party drug.””

“The CDC officially endorsed the preventative use of Truvada only with the use of condoms, but many doctors have acknowledged that those on the drug may be more prone to engage in unprotected sex, which leaves open the door for other STDS, like gonorrhea, herpes, syphilis and others. However, most STDs can be cured with antibiotics and almost all pose less serious health threats than AIDS when properly treated.”

Truvada has been at the center of controversy for awhile because people like Michael Weinstein has been rallying against it. He does not want it advocated because he feels it does not promote condom use and he owns or is involved with condom companies. Since condom use is down 20%, he stands to lose even more sales.

Even though the CDC says to use Truvada with a condom to prevent HIV, some would probably take the pill in lieu of barrier protection, so there is a point to be made that those people would more susceptible to other STDs. But for the adult industry, who has spent a lot of time and energy fighting mandatory condom laws, use of Truvada seems like a no-brainer.

The CDC has said that if you are in a high risk group, you should be taking Truvada. Homosexual and bisexual men and people who have unprotected sex with multiple partners, do IV drugs or sleep with someone who does. This exactly describes the porn industry.

This isn’t just some recommendation by Sanjay Gupta, this is a government agency, the Center for Disease Control. They have come right out and said those in high risk groups should be taking this drug. It creates a sticky situation for Michael Weinstein, because to be against Truvada is to be against a recommendation by a government agency, which AIDS Healthcare Foundation relies on for funding. With condom use down 20% and the use of Truvada preventing more HIV infections, Weinstein stands to lose a LOT of money.

Weinstein isn’t the benevolent angel that some people say he is. He ultimately cares about his bottom line. When you have an organization that takes in a lot of donations, there is a lot left over after you have paid for your operating expenses and overhead. I’m sure Michael Weinstein and everybody at AHF draw hefty paychecks. A non-profit doesn’t mean nobody profits. If by using Truvada, the amount of people acquiring HIV shrinks, that means the amount of funding they will receive will shrink as well, as there will be less people to treat and care for.

It’s sorta the same concept as the prison system. If you do away with stiff penalties for drug offenses and less people are incarcerated, the prisons will lose money and people running them will be out of work. There will be be prisons that will not be filled, so they will have to close. So you either lay people off and close down prisons, or keep them filled with non-violent offenders. It’s a vicious cycle, but it is how it is in the prison industry, the healthcare business, any business that profits off of criminals or sick people.

So if Weinstein has an organization set up to service X amount of people and that number of people is reduced, he will take a big financial hit and people will lose their jobs. Why would he want anyone to take Truvada? I’m not saying he wants people to die, but ultimately there is big business in healthcare and keeping people sick.

This is all big business. If people say, “Michael Weinstein is a great man. How can you say he wants people to get AIDS?” That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying it behooves him not to want people to use Truvada. It behooves him to keep his patient total at a certain level so he continues to get funding.

Condom use is down since 2005 and the number of new HIV infections has leveled. When you introduce Truvada into the equation, that number is going to go even lower. So it’s a double whammy for Weinstein. He’s losing on the condom sales front and on the funding for AIDS Healthcare.

A big misconception is that insurance companies aren’t going to cover Truvada. Tim Tritch said this on Mike South’s board. This is false and when you think about it, completely ridiculous. Truvada and HIV-related drugs are covered by insurance and Medi-Cal. The whole concept of insurance is that the insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible. If you have a drug that will prevent someone from getting AIDS, which is a lot more expensive to treat, why wouldn’t they cover it? It defies logic that they wouldn’t. So Tim Tritch aka “jilted” is wrong. Very wrong.

The time is now to rethink the health policies of this business. The problem is we’ve had people like Diane Duke and Peter Acworth leading the charge and they’ve failed miserably. We need a restart. We need to start from scratch.

Peter Acworth is now making overtures to Michael Weinstein. It’s a case of a little too late. It’s like when the Republicans tried to play hardball with the President and shut down the government. They ended up looking like fools when they let people like Ted Cruz run the show. That’s what we are looking like now. The leadership of this business lost the battle and now they want to negotiate. We can’t let the losers who got us into this mess negotiate. We need to throw them out.

We need to show the legislature and the people that we’ve been fighting against that there are new reasonable people in charge and that the old regime is no more. Let’s face it, there isn’t a lot of shooting going on right now and the main people who are shooting are associated with Manwin. Axel Braun started the new shooting protocols that include condoms and 7 day testing. Everybody is looking for someone to lead this industry, to sit down and negotiate and say that was the old and this is the new.

That is what has got to happen. With promising new drugs like Truvada and responsible new people in charge like Axel Braun, it will.

Follow Rob Black on Twitter @RealRobBlack Email: [email protected]

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply