San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener on Wednesday became what appears to be the first public figure in the country to disclose that he's taking a drug that prevents HIV infection - a pill that public health officials said could save lives but has remained largely unused due to stigma and lack of awareness.
Wiener made his disclosure in a piece that ran on the Huffington Post Wednesday evening.
“Each morning, I take a pill called Truvada to protect me from becoming infected with HIV,” Weiner wrote. 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. After consulting with my physician, I went on PrEP to further protect and take personal responsibility for my health. I'm HIV-negative, and I want to remain that way.
San Francisco is ion the brink of an aggressive new campaign to persuade more gay men to take the drug, which is referred to as PrEP, for pre-exposure prophylaxis. Truvada, an antiviral drug that has been used to treat HIV infection for more than a decade, is the only pill approved for prevention.
At a meeting Thursday, Supervisor David Campos is expected to push to Truvada more accessible in San Francisco and distribute it to any resident who needs it. Campos’s proposal is expected to include funding to pay for the drug for those who need, but can’t afford it. Truvada can cost up to $14,000 a year, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.