“PrEP: The Revolution That Didn’t Happen” Declares New AHF Advocacy Ad

More than three years after FDA first approved use of Truvada for
pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV transmission, CDC reports just
21,000 individuals in the U.S. are on PrEP today.

In May 2014, the CDC first recommended 500,000 high-risk individuals
go on PrEP.
CDC is now recommending that 1.2 million people go on
PrEP—including 1 in 4 gay men. CDC appears to be doubling down on a
costly prevention strategy that does not have widespread acceptance at
the expense of other proven HIV prevention methods including ‘treatment
as prevention’ and condom use.

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A new advocacy
ad by the AIDS
Healthcare Foundation
(AHF) takes aim at the failure of pre-exposure
prophylaxis (PrEP), the use of Gilead
Sciences’
AIDS treatment Truvada
to prevent HIV transmission in uninfected individuals, to catch on
despite the fact that the powerful AIDS treatment medication has been
approved by the Food
and Drug Administration
(FDA) for use as PrEP since July 2012 and
that Gilead has spent millions to promote the drug directly to community
groups and physicians.


In 2014, the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) initially recommended
that 500,000 gay men and other high risk individuals go on PrEP to
prevent HIV infection. In late November of this year, the CDC raised
that number to 1.2 million in November to also include other “high risk”
people including intravenous drug users and heterosexual adults without
HIV who have an HIV-positive partner or have multiple sexual partners.
Today, only 21,000 people are currently on PrEP in the United States, according
to Dr. Jonathan Mermin
, the CDC’s Director of the National Center
for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP).

AHF’s “PrEP: The Revolution that Didn’t Happen” ad also calls out the
CDC for directing funding away from proven STD/HIV prevention and
treatment methods: “The failure of PrEP to catch on isn’t the biggest
problem. The big problem is that CDC has abandoned promoting other
prevention methods such as condoms. STD rates, which indicate high
levels of unprotected sex, are soaring across the board and yet budgets
for the diagnosis and treatment of STDs are being cut. Funding for
HIV testing, outreach and linkage to care are flat or declining.”

The ad can be viewed here
and the full text is below:

PrEP: The Revolution that Didn’t Happen

In July 2012, the FDA approved Truvada for the prevention of HIV
(PrEP). It was hailed by CDC and many activists as a prevention
revolution. CDC recommended that 500,000 gay men take the drug which it
recently raised to 1.2 million. Gilead Sciences, the maker of Truvada,
has spent millions funding community groups to promote the drug and more
money enticing doctors to prescribe it. Thousands of articles have
been published about PrEP. Two and a half years later according to CDC
only 21,000 people are on the drug in the United States. Any objective
observer has to conclude that most patients don’t want to take Truvada
and doctors are not recommending it.

The failure of PrEP to catch on isn’t the biggest problem. The big
problem is that CDC has abandoned promoting other prevention methods
such as condoms.
STD rates which indicate high levels of
unprotected sex are soaring across the board and yet budgets for the
diagnosis and treatment of STDs are being cut. Funding for HIV testing,
outreach and linkage to care are flat or declining.

We know that when people with HIV are treated and their virus is
brought down to undetectable levels they are rendered non-infectious to
others. Yet, in the United States only about 30% of the HIV infected
population have their virus under control – a very bad situation.

AHF has made clear that we believe that PrEP is a good solution for
individuals who have multiple partners and never use condoms. However,
we do not believe that it is a proven public health solution. How long
will it take for CDC to catch on to the failure of this strategy? In the
meantime, our country is unprotected against the spread of HIV and other
STDs.

The editorial advertisement is scheduled to appear in the Florida
Agenda
and Washington DC’s Metro Weekly and Washington
Blade
this week, followed by placements in the South Florida Gay
News
, Frontiers (Los Angeles), Bay Area Reporter, Gay
City News
(New York City), Dallas Voice, and Georgia Voice
the week of December 20th-26th.

“PrEP: The Revolution that Didn’t Happen” follows an August 2015 national
editorial ad campaign
entitled “Reaching Common Ground on PrEP” that outlined
eleven suggested principles on PrEP
and ran in the same publications.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
500,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

Contacts

AHF
Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications
+1.323.308.1833
work
+1.323.791.5526 mobile
gedk@aidshealth.org
or
Christopher
Johnson,
Associate Director of Communications
+1.323.960.4846
work
+1.310.880.9913 mobile
christopher.johnson@aidshealth.org