SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — In what some HIV experts calling a courageous move, San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener went public with news on Wednesday that he’s taking the HIV prevention drug Truvada, saying the idea is to raise awareness that this treatment could save lives.
Weiner, in an essay appearing in the Huffington Post, wrote that he wanted to go public about taking the drug because he felt obliged to get people talking.READ MORE: Asian American Attacks: San Francisco Shop Owner Says Teen Thief Pepper Sprayed Her
Truvada, made by Gilead Sciences in Foster City is a pill that if taken daily can cut the risk of HIV infection by up to 99 percent. It’s the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for prevention.
But this strategy, also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), can bring along the stigma of promiscuity. It’s the same notion that accompanies birth control pills or the HPV vaccine—that somehow it encourages people to toss aside their morals.READ MORE: Santa Clara Wins NCAA Women's Soccer Championship, Topping FSU In Penalty Kick Shootout
“Whenever we have measures to protect sexual health, there’s always going to be some stigma around it, unfortunately. And it’s our job as public officials, or as advocates, to try to reduce that stigma and get people just to think hard, just from a public health perspective, of what makes sense for them,” Wiener told KCBS.
Truvada, The District 8 said, is by no means is the only prevention method recommended; condoms are a critical part of prevention and both, used together, are important tools.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: 2-Alarm House Fire Contained In San Francisco's Bayview District
There are some critics, however, who raise the concern whether people will remember to take a daily pill but Wiener said that if they can do it for blood pressure, they can do it for this.