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Dan Savage thinks anyone who takes PrEP is a unreachable idiot #HIV #AIDS

Dan Savage thinks anyone who takes PrEP is a unreachable idiot #HIV #AIDS

I’ve made it no secret that I can’t stand Dan Savage, the nationally syndicated sex columnist who has actually no professional credentials in doing so.  And give him props, right? He’s conned absolutely everyone, and he can’t rake in the cash quick enough.

He can appear wherever and whenever he likes to spout his particularly obnoxious form of “wisdom”, but at the end of the day he’s still an asshole under the spotlight.  He’s also an asshole who’d never share any of his wit and wisdom for free.  He and his boyfriend Terry are all too happy to make a buck off your back, and off the back of every kid that touches It Gets Better.  Thanks to the gay community, Savage has become a millionaire, and for some unknown reason he’s become the arbiter of everything gay.  Want a gay opinion? Go see if Savage can give us 30 minutes, quick!

Gag me.

If I never had a reason to hate him before, I do now.  Richard Morgan contributed an op-ed piece for the NY Times on PEP, PrEP and the dynamics of the morning after pill that’s becoming more widely available than it was a few years ago.  Morgan had a HIV scare, panicked and lined up for a month of Truvada to lessen his chances of converting to HIV positive.  That’s the “morning after pill”, or PEP.  I’ve written a few times already that I’m part of a nationwide trial for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and taking a combination of Miraviroc, Tenofovir and FTC) and I have been for a few months now.  As an HIV/AIDS advocate who was watching his friends and loved ones die while Savage still was working the counter of a video store, I’ve made my thoughts on safe sex messages pretty clear: always use a condom is a dinosaur and not getting the job done.  “Always use a condom” is the safe sex equivalent of a warning on the pack of cigarettes.  Everybody knows it’s there. They know what it says and the dangers of smoking but they sure as hell do it.

And HIV rates continue to climb.

I spoke to someone just yesterday who’d converted.  The day before that, I had a lengthy conversation with someone who took everybody’s word at a PNP party that they were all “safe”.  He genuinely believed them.  The results of his test came back and via his own lack of knowledge, a lot of tequila and some other drugs he found out he’s HIV positive on his 19th birthday.

Earlier this week I spoke to someone initially got a positive result at a Pride event.  He went further for another blood test and found out he’s negative.  He was astounded when he was told that with one positive and one negative result, the clinician advised him to rubber it up at all times and come back in another month for a test.  His “official status” was – to the doctor – unknown.  She didn’t want to say if he was positive or negative.  She needed more data.  When I last spoke to him, he disclosed that he’s negative and barebacking his way thru most of the southern states.  Complacency is a bitch, and the media – to me – is absolutely at fault for letting people think that HIV has become this chronically manageable disease that people no longer die from.

NEWSFLASH: They still die from it.  We lost 9600 gay men in the US last year from it.  HIV is not this magical release back into the wilds of indiscriminate sex.

Ok, I just went off on that a bit.  Sorry.  Back to the piece.  Here’s Savage’s soundbite that has forever branded him in my mind as an asshole. (I’ll share the paragraph above it too in order to put it all in context:

As for the pre- and post-exposure pills, cost is not the only barrier. Of 403 H.I.V.-negative gay men surveyed in a different study by Columbia researchers, only half said they would take PrEP on a regular basis. A 22-year-old art director on the Lower East Side told me of a recent scare he had after he took home a handsome but sometimes homeless man he met at a bar. Very drunk, they had unprotected sex. The next morning the art director panicked, but eschewed the post-exposure pills, he told me, because “I’m pretty health-conscious and careful about what I put in my body, especially medicine.” (Weeks later, he did a regular H.I.V. test, which came up negative.)

Dan Savage, the nationally syndicated sex columnist who coined the concept of “monogamish” relationships, expressed similar worry, fearing that clinicians do not understand the psychology of the population they’re trying to help. “The guys these sensible health care folks are trying to reach are not sensible,” he told me. “They are self-identified idiots who can only be saved by a vaccine.” Right now, in the final weekend of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, it is a good moment to reflect on these issues. In the nearly two decades since “Rent” and “Angels in America,” a generation has grown up in a world where AIDS did not equal death. That has led to a complacency that helps explain a troubling increase in new H.I.V. infections among young men who have sex with men.

I fear that, for all their potential benefits, at-home tests and the new pre- and post-exposure H.I.V. medications might give some gay men an exaggerated sense of safety, and encourage the promiscuity that Larry Kramer, the playwright and activist, has spent so many years railing against.

What an amazing crock of bullshit.

You would think that if Savage actually gave a shit about the community, he’d have changed the message to, “condoms aren’t getting the job done. Long live PrEP!”

There is NO vaccine. The last HIV vaccine study was shut down months ago, branded as a dismal failure as scores of the trials participants were turning up positive.  The FDA swooped in and shut down the whole damn thing..

I’d love to know when the last time Savage actually spent some time talking to the newly seroconverted.  Or when was the last time he showed up at an HIV fundraising event to speak and didn’t take a five figure sum to do so.

Sex isn’t always planned, and I’m sure any gay man reading this can testify to it.  You don’t always have a condom in your wallet, and you end up thinking with your little brain instead of your big one.

I wonder if any of the guys I spoke to this week who are newly HIV positive would have jumped at the chance to have PrEP or PEP at their disposal.

They’re not the idiots, Dan.  You are.  Anyone who’s so indiscriminately dismissive and holier-than-thou like you needs to add one more line to their resume: self-identified idiot.

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Dan Savage thinks anyone who takes PrEP is a unreachable idiot #HIV #AIDS, 4.5 out of 10 based on 8 ratings
  • David

    Read Dan’s quote again. He isn’t saying guys who take PrEP are idiots. He says health care professionals trying to reach negative men who bareback are “sensible”, but those barebackers are “unreachable idiots”, i.e., they will not take PrEP. Not that they are idiots for taking PrEP, but they are idiots for barebacking while negative, and will not be reachable by those advocating PrEP.

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    • Ben C

      No, your opinion is Bullshit. I’m a barebacker and I’m neither unreachable, nor an idiot. Adults who are capable of making a decision about whether they want to have sex with a condom or sex without a barrier are capable of making the decision as to whether or not take a pill every day. Prep will save lives.

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      • sayencrowolf

        I agree with you, especially as a HIV advocate with two decades of war scars. “Always use a condom” is a failed social experiment that’s 30 years old and we haven’t evolved in the slightest. That will be our undoing, as those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

        Every legitimate advocate (Savage excluded) needs to get behind PrEP asap if we have any hopes at all of turning the tide of conversions. It’s nothing more nuanced than that. Savage will only ever step up to the mike on this one if he got a fat endorsement from the pharma company that produces it.

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      • BreannaFox89

        Prep may indeed save lives, but nothing can save people from being so selfish that they aren’t concerned about the welfare of others. Gays aren’t known for their ability to care about anyone other than themselves.

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  • CulverCityist

    Are you mad about his beliefs or his bank account balance? He’s made money… Calm down about it.

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    • sayencrowolf

      I don’t play passive aggressively when it when it comes to HIV. Complacency is what has us in this mess to begin with. An entire generation of men are growing up thinking HIV is simply cured with a pill and it’s no big deal at all these days to seroconvert.

      I call bullshit, especially when the lemmings follow behind Savage to scarf up his “pearls of wisdom” I said it above, he wouldn’t lift a finger to be an advocate for anything if there weren’t money involved and that’s the facts.

      And, for the record, I have no problems with his bank balance, as mine is just as healthy as his. I have a problem with ANYONE who makes a buck off the very people they claim to be an advocate for, and off the backs of dead LGBT kids. My problems with Savage and IGB are legion, and his 990 forms for that organization he founded smack questionable activity.

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  • Jeffrey

    I have to agree with David below. I didn’t read anywhere in that quote where Dan said that anyone who takes PrEP is an unreachable idiot. I think you are reading something into his words that just isn’t there.

    With all due respect to your cause, work, and story I don’t think you are serving your message by attacking his.

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    • sayencrowolf

      With all due respect to your reply – baloney. I have conversations daily around PrEP and 99% of the guys I talk to have no clue what it’s about. When they finish getting their mini primer from me they’re a bit more educated, but the bottom line from them? They think they’re not at risk.

      Savage’s message is clear: it was nothing more than a another sound bite from a so-called “activist” who wouldn’t lift a single finger to help any LGBT person if the check isn’t made out to his retirement fund beforehand. He’s no activist, he’s a profiteer who utterly blew a chance to endorse PrEP by blowing it off, and dismissing the very crowd who’d benefit from it most.

      Also, my interpretation of Savage’s sound bite is sound. I sat on this piece for two days before I responded and it was vetted by 500 other HIV professionals on my message boards. We all came to the same conclusion. Savage is a ill-informed, ill-equipped, totally uncredentialed “sex therapist” who needs to look at the clock and see that his 15 min of fame are coming to a quick and merciful end.

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  • cindi

    Dan Savage is an evil egotist who condones child molestation! He hurts gays

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    • http://sayencrowolf.net Sayen CroWolf

      As much as I can’t stand the son of a bitch I’ve never seen him advocate child molestation. That’s probably the only thing that hasn’t fallen out of his mouth.

      He just got ripped to shreds in the British press for advocating forced abortions.

      I agree he does far more harm to any LGBT movement than he does good. I can’t wait for the day he fades back to obscurity

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  • Joe

    Ok…why is it again that If you can make sure that you have PEP or PreP disposal, why can’t you make sure that you have a condom too? I’m Just sayin…

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    • sayencrowolf

      Ok, quick lesson for you: PEP is POST exposure, PrEP is pre-exposure. You can get an ongoing prescription for PrEP (like the one I have), you go to the doctor and say “whoops, I think I may have been exposed to HIV when I had sex” and you get an entirely different regime.

      Condoms are not the only safe sex remedy anymore, and people need to wrap their mind around that. They’re only good when they are used – and used properly. PrEP is another bullet in belt when it comes to protecting your sexual health.

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      • http://yahoo.com/ Darkhog

        Thanks sayencrowolf, it’s goes to show you can never be too intelligent to always learn something and the safer the better.

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