You have probably seen the “I’m on the pill” commercial for Truvada. They show a diverse group of physically fit people, socializing in healthy activities —just like a beer commercial. But its not about beer, it’s promoting a drug that can reduce the chances that someone will contract HIV. That’s what “PrEP” means — Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis.
Lest you misconstrue what follows: Positively Waiting! supports ALL advances in the fight against HIV. We want those who have it to maintain their health and those who don’t have it to never contract it.
Having said that, there is no denying the fact that if every HIV-positive person refused to engage in the behaviors which transmit the virus, the AIDS epidemic could be eradicated in one generation. It may be a scandalous statement, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
Anyway, back to the Truvada commercial. Whenever it comes on, this is how it sounds in my head.
Transcript: It’s a prescription medicine for adults that, taken every day, along with safer sex practices can help lower my chances of getting HIV.
Translation: Condoms are supposed to be 95% effective, but I take this pill every day to reduce that "leftover" 5% risk. [Wait, a DAILY medication is required decrease a 5% condom failure rate? Does that sound right to you?]
Transcript: I talked to my doctor, and he said because I have a higher chance of getting HIV through sex, Truvada might be an option for me.
Translation: I have a higher chance because I am gay, bisexual, or transgendered; a member of the Black or Latino community; living in the South or the Midwest; and/or an injected drug user [according to Hiv.gov].
Transcript: [My doctor] also told me Truvada alone may not keep me from getting HIV and it does not prevent other STIs or pregnancy.
Translation: Like all sexually active people, I am at risk of contracting other much more common diseases,which Truvada doesn’t prevent. And if I don’t want to make any unexpected babies, I must add birth control.
Transcript: You must be HIV negative to take Truvada for PrEP, so you need to get tested for HIV immediately before and at least every 3 months, while taking Truvada.