In an effort to combat stigma that has arisen around a treatment that prevents HIV, a San Francisco elected official announced publicly Wednesday that he is taking the medicine. City Supervisor Scott Wiener said that he is taking Truvada, an FDA-approved drug that dramatically reduces the risk of HIV infection. He appears to be first public official to make such an announcement.
Wiener wrote about his experience in The Huffington Post:
Each morning, I take a pill called Truvada to protect me from becoming infected with HIV. This strategy, also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, reduces the risk of HIV infection by up to 99 percent if the pill is taken once a day. This makes PrEP one of the most effective HIV-prevention measures in existence. …
As an elected official, disclosing this personal health decision was a hard but necessary choice. After all these years, we still see enormous stigma, shame, and judgment around HIV, and around sexuality in general. That is precisely why I decided to be public about my choice: to contribute to a larger dialogue about our community’s health.
“My hope is that by disclosing my PrEP use publicly that I can help move the conversation forward and get more people thinking about PrEP as a possibility, and encouraging people to consult with their medical provider,” Wiener said in an interview at his office in San Francisco’s City Hall.