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Prevention

To Battle Stigma, Out Rep. Brian Sims Goes Public on His PrEP Use

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The Pennsylvania lawmaker said the LGBTQ community must not allow shame to sully the HIV preventative.

Out Pennsylvania representative Brian Sims opened up on Instagram about his own use of PrEP, the highly effective prescription that prevents HIV. 

Alongside a picture of a Truvada pill, the state lawmaker wrote about pre-exposure prophylaxis, but made clear he had no interest in discussing why he personally uses the treatment.

“Starting this day off smart, proactive, and in control!” Sims wrote in his social media post. “Think this is an invite to talk about my sex life? It’s not. Think it’s an invite to shame me or anyone else? Grow up.”


Sims, the first openly gay man elected to the Pennsylvania legsilature, wants to remove some of the stigma and secrecy around the medication. PrEP is a treatment with a 99 percent efficacy rate at preventing transmission of the HIV virus.

While the treatment has been around since 2012, surveys show a majority of Americans remain unaware of PrEP or its effectiveness. Moreover, some studies have found significant public shaming, with the term “Truvada whores” lobbed at some who use PrEP.

Sims suggests in his post that allowing such stigma to spread only hurts the LGBTQ community.

“'Stigma' is the thing our enemies want us to be stunted by,” he wrote. “It literally kills us. It’s stupid and we control our own fate. No shame in this game. Just Pride.”

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Jacob Ogles

Editor

Ryan is the Digital Director of The Advocate Channel, and a graduate of NYU Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing. She is also a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. While her specialties are television writing and comedy, Ryan is a young member of the LGBTQ+ community passionate about politics and advocating for all.

Ryan is the Digital Director of The Advocate Channel, and a graduate of NYU Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing. She is also a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. While her specialties are television writing and comedy, Ryan is a young member of the LGBTQ+ community passionate about politics and advocating for all.