COMMENT | Truvada Friend or an enemy?27th May 2015
The use of Truvada as a prophylactic medication has awakened a rage of discussion and controversy.
In Europe, the discussion is not that heated yet, but in the US, it is already on fire. Last year, the president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation wrote an article in New York Times about Truvada, and that caught my interest. He was advocating against Truvada. It made me wonder, why are people for or against a medication like this?
I decided to do a little “research”, and browsed through numerous articles and discussions about the expanded use of a medication such as Truvada.
What I found in numerous comments was that, stigma and judgment are well positioned and in place, and that is a shame. Stigma and judgment will not bring anything good to the table. There are already two camps that developed – those who are for using Truvada and those who are against it or do not want anyone to use it.
Since the discovery of HIV, we have been dreaming about a vaccine or an effective treatment.
Right from the beginning, large amounts of resources have been deployed to find a cure and to find a vaccine. However, we soon understood that neither a cure nor a vaccine would be found overnight. We have never given up hope though, and today, there are several companies and different entities that specialise in such research.
I believe that in 10 or 20 years, we will either have a new form of effective treatment or a vaccine. But, how are we going to react? I know Truvada is not a vaccine. It’s actually not a new drug. It was discovered in 2004, but has always been used only for the treatment of HIV – until now.
So, what is wrong or good with Truvada?
Those who advocate for it say that it is a sort of a revolution in the prevention of HIV. You take a tablet each day, and you sorted out (well, sort of). Those opposing Truvada say that it does not protect you from other STDs, and, if not taken properly, not only will it not fully protect, it also gives you false security.
People may ask you, what do you think? How to respond to a question like this?
“You know, I do not like condoms, and I will never use them. But I am willing to use Truvada, and it is something I actually believe in. What do you think?”
How should one respond to such a question? Advocate for the use of condoms, just for the sake of it, or recommend Truvada on its own, or together with condoms?
Questions likes these, related to the use of Truvada, will appear and challenge us, more and more in the coming years. I am sure there will be several more medications approved for prophylactic use, and, at the ultimate moment, the emergence of a vaccine will occur. I suppose a vaccine for HIV is a dream of many; just a single shot and you never get HIV. Sounds great? A vaccine will, again, protect us from HIV only, not from other STDs.
So, are we going to be willing to give the vaccine to everyone, even if it would mean a widespread drop in the use of condoms?
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.