NEW YORK (PIX11) -- What happens when a drug developed for HIV treatment is all of a sudden a tool for HIV prevention?
The drug is called Truvada, and Damon Jacobs has been taking it for three years.
The Brooklyn resident says he made the decision to proactively take the pill – on a daily basis – after consulting with the staff at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
“Right in would have to depend on someone else to use the condom correctly, and make sure they put it on correctly, and make sure it didn’t break,” said Jacobs.
“The ideal candidate for Truvada are people, for men who have sex with men who are infected. Men who have sex with men who are at risk for infection, and anyone who feels they are at risk for infection,” said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie.
Governor Cuomo believes in Truvada’s potential so much that he made it part of a major public health initiative.
The goal – to drastically reduce the number of HIV/AIDS cases over the next several years.
But Michael Weinstein of the California based AIDS Healthcare Foundation believes Governor Cuomo is sending a message that could put gay men at risk of greater exposure to HIV, and a host of other STDs.
“I think governor Cuomo’s advice is ill-advised. We know with absolute certainty that it give you no protection against gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, and other conditions,” said Weinstein.
Weinstein’s point: condoms are still the best weapon against a broader range of STDs – including HIV/AIDS.
But Damon Jacobs – who says he hasn’t missed a dose of Truvada in three years – says the drug address the often condomless reality of gay sex in 2014.
“One thing that in think we forget to talk about in these conversations about sex is pleasure. Gay men don’t’ use condoms because of pleasure. Straight people don’t use condoms because of pleasure. But if there’s a way that we can enjoy sexual connection and intimacy, and remove HIV as a risk – why not talk about that?” said Jacobs.