The largest LGBT rights organization, the Human Rights Campaign, publically endorsed the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis treatment this past weekend, stating it was calling for an expansion of access to the popular PrEP drug, Truvada. Here's a portion of their statement:
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.
The HRC reiterated the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stating that PrEP is not a cure but a method of preventing the spread of HIV. The HRC also noted their particular reasons for endorsing the treatment.
In a policy paper published at the time of the press release, the HRC listed several calls to action to expand access to and education of PrEP, including a call on insurance companies to cover PrEP and for Gilead Sciences, the makers of Truvada, to lower their prices.
“It would be wrong to advocate for the use of a proprietary pharmaceutical without taking aggressive steps to help guarantee affordable access to the drug in question. After all, people of all backgrounds can contract HIV, and those who are least empowered to access or afford treatment are also most at risk,” the HRC policy paper says.
[Editor's note: It has been posited by some media watchers that the HRC may have been partially influenced by work of HIV Plus and The Advocate, which teamed up on a series called 31 Days of PrEP, which was cited, at least once, in the HRC's policy paper. We're thrilled either way.]