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Zachary Quinto Clarifies PrEP Stance, Isn't a Slut Shamer

Zachary Quinto Clarifies PrEP Stance, Isn't a Slut Shamer

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Actor says community can't let its guard down.

Zachary Quinto took a lot of heat from PrEP advocates last year when he shared his thoughts on Truvada with Out magazine. Now the actor seeks to clarify his earlier statements, telling The Huffington Post, it was not his "intention to judge anyone." 

Quinto told the Huffington Post that although he knows many people taking PrEP, the HIV prevention treatment is just not for him. Though his comments seem to be easing up from those he made last year, his core views that the community of gay men had to remain vigilant have not changed.

"It was not my intetion to judge anybody or to rankle anybody, or to put myself in some kind of superior position by any means," Quinto told Michelangelo Signorile this week. "I think if people use PrEP as part of a responsible regimen of taking care of themselves and preserving their bodies and their well-being and the well-being of the people they're having sex with, then more power to them. There was this thing that I was 'slut-shaming.' Anybody who knows me knows that that is the last thing I would ever do. I just think that we can't let our guard down."

During an interview with Out's Mike Berlin last year, Quinto said that he thought the LGBT community had become more complacent with regards to HIV infection rates and that young people were now much less afraid of AIDS than they used to be. "I think there's a tremendous sense of complacency in the LGBT community," Quinto says, citing the rising number of HIV infections in adolescents. "AIDS has lost the edge of horror it possesed when it swept through the world in the '80s. Today's generation sees it more as something to live with and something to be much less fearful of. And that comes with a sense of, dare I say, laziness." 

He then continued by stating his skepticism about the use of PrEP and that he thought it could lead to irresponsibility. "We need to be really vigilant and open about the fact that these drugs are not to be taken to increase our ability to have recreational sex," he says. "There's an incredible underlying irresponsibilyt to that way of thinking...and we don't yet know enough about this vein of medication to see where it'll take us down the line."

Activist Mathew Rodriguez took Quinto to task in an op-ed in The Advocate, comparing him to Bill Cosby and Don Lemon in that he engages in respectability politics and blamed the LGBT community for its HIV problem. He also criticized Quinto for what Rodriguez perceived as a return to fear-based tactics in fighting HIV.

"Let's get this fact straight: fear tactics have never worked to keep people HIV-negative," Rodriguez wrote. "It seems that older gay men — at a young 37, Quinto is only about 12 years older than I am — seem to think that because they were saddled with prevention messaging based in fear, my generation must go through it too." 

Rodriguez also accused Quinto of "making an enemy out of recreational sex" over his comments about PrEP, writing that the science was not out on PrEP, since Truvada is a drug that has been tested for years and its side effects are well-known. 

You can listen to Quinto's interview with the Huffington Post's editor-at-large Michelangelo Signorile here

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