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!
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.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]Dan Savage thinks anyone who takes PrEP is a unreachable idiot #HIV #AIDS,