AHF proves once again they really don’t give a damn about you #HIV #AIDS #PrEP
It never ends with these people.
AIDS Health Foundation, headed up by the always combative Michael Weinstein is at it again. Here’s their latest misinformation campaign:
LOS ANGELES (August 22, 2014) Citing poor drug adherence by individuals enrolled in eight major clinical research trials on the use of Gilead’s AIDS treatment, Truvada, for use as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as a possible method of HIV prevention, advocates from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) have launched a new national ‘PrEP Facts’ ad campaign cautioning individuals, community organizations and government bodies against the widespread scale up of PrEP for HIV prevention.
AHF’s ‘PrEP Facts’ ad campaign educating the public about adherence issues and PrEP initially started running this week in a few newspapers, magazines and online outlets in California and will continue and expand to six outlets in California and five news outlets in South Florida over the next week. AHF’s campaign also comes on the heels of recent—and what AHF believes are misguided—recommendations by both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) for the widespread scale up and implementation of the problematic HIV prevention strategy. “The eight major studies show the scientific data do not support the large-scale use of Truvada as a community-wide public health intervention to prevent transmission of HIV,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Medication adherence is the primary problem: Even in carefully monitored clinical trials, in which people were counseled monthly, had blood samples drawn and were even paid to participate, many study participants simply did NOT take Truvada every day as prescribed. As such, we want the public to know that the government-sanctioned widespread scale up of PrEP appears to be a public health disaster in the making.”
Poor drug adherence was found almost across the board in the eight major clinical research trials of Truvada as PrEP. The Partners PrEP Study (97-98% adherence, which resulted in a 73% efficacy); TDF2 Study (Study stopped early due to loss to follow-up. 63% efficacy–adherence not available); the iPrex OLE [Open Label Extension] Study (Preliminary results from the iPrEx OLE study released at the 20th International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Australia in July showed an initial overall efficacy of 49%); the Bangkok Study (84% adherence, which resulted in a 49% efficacy); the initial iPrex Study (Overall PrEP efficacy: 44%); the CAPRISA Gel Study (Vaginal tenofovir gel had 39% efficacy—adherence not available. Gel was used before and after sex.); the VOICE Gel Study (Study stopped early due to lack of vaginal tenofovir efficacy. Gel was used daily.); and the FEM-PrEP Study (Study stopped early due to low adherence and equal rates of infection in both study arms.) – See more at: http://www.aidshealth.org/archives/18496#sthash.SvKN7YTP.dpuf
Once again, Weinstein presents 1/2 the facts. Now, consider their history on this, as well as a few other debacles that Weinstein has pulled over the years. In no particular order…
1. AHF loses GIlead’s contributions, and Weinstein bangs his spoon on his high chair because his big mouth cost the AHF plenty.
2. The FDA refuses to meet with Michael Weinstein regarding Truvada (and boy was he pissed).
3. Weinstein calls PrEP a party drug (and pisses off virtually everyone, myself included)
4. A petition is launched for his removal. While the chances of it being successful is virtually zero, the statement has still been made. The petition’s originator, Eric Paul Leue is still making waves as a champion of Truvada
5. Weinstein thumbs his nose at the outrage, and says that PrEP is still nothing but a party drug.
6. Buoyed by nothing but his own ego, Weinstein launches a bizarre war on porn. And loses spectacularly.
7. AHF launches their own “study” on PrEP. I was able to debunk every single line of it before my coffee got cold.
8. AHF launches a “No Magic Pill” press bomb against Truvada. They managed to get 600 doctors to sign their petition. They managed to leave out the fact that their are 2 million doctors registered with the American Medical Association. They scored 600 doctors out of 2 million.
The list is endless. AHF and Weinstein need a win in their column. They haven’t had one in a decade, so they’re striking out against Truvada one more time, and not presenting all the facts. At all:
But what the campaign does not discuss, or disclose, is that when taken daily, Truvada is incredibly effective in preventing new infections.
AHF, however, wants readers to believe that PrEP is only as effective as the baseline results from various studies. A baseling finding combines all the results together to come up with an overall efficacy result. But those studies found substantial differences between participants with detectable levels of the drug in their blood and those who did not. But science requires that we combine all the groups — adherent and nonadherent — for one overall efficacy rate. AHF would like folks to believe those low numbers are the topline of efficacy, when in fact they are the bottom line of efficacy.
To compare, AHF loves to promote condoms — and more power to them as they can be effective.
However, a study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researcher Dawn Smithfound that when not used correctly and consistently every time for anal sex had no net protective effect over not using condoms. But using condoms every time, correctly and consistently during anal sex had a 70 percent reduction in HIV transmission. So, using AHF’s logic, encouraging condom use is futile since only one in six men who have sex with men report using condoms each and every time. Therefore, adherence to condoms results poor efficacy in HIV transmission prevention.
Sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn’t it? Yet that is exactly what AHF is doing when it comes to PrEP. The National Institute of Health says the intervention is up to 99 percent effective when taken daily.
The FDA approved Truvada for this intervention in July 2012, based on those very same studies AHF would like you to believe say the drug doesn’t work. And the CDC earlier this year released new clinical guidance for PrEP which also cites the efficacy of everyday use of PrEP in preventing infection — not the AHF’s abuse of the science.
Remember when the AHF used to stand for something? They used to be the AIDS service organization everyone turned to? Their mission was to help the people with HIV and AIDS?
Yeah, me neither. AIDS is big business for them. Infections mean they’re in business and it stinks to say that. But it also sucks that we have one of the largest AIDS service organizations in the world presenting this half baked bullshit to the public as the truth. I know it’s a crock, every AIDS advocate out there knows it. The CDC and WHO know the value of PrEP and Truvada. And yet the AHF is banking on the fact that there are people out there who will read their press releases as gospel and stay away from it. They present they’re “nobody’s remembering to take it” as the beat all-end all of the truth but neglecting to mention the fact that when it’s taken – it works. It’s no more simple than that.
The AHF doesn’t give a damn about the guy who’s reading their press releases and taking it as the truth. And who just might get infected because he believed them. He stayed with the “wear your condoms and cross your fingers” mantra and got infected anyway.