Truvada & HIV Prevention
I think this is probably one of the most comprehensive pieces I’ve read yet about the antiretroviral drug, Truvada, as it applies to HIV prevention. The FDA approved Truvada for use in preventing HIV infection, but there’s also been a division within the medical community for many reasons, and this article titled, “What Is Safe Sex? The Raw and Uncomfortable Truth About Truvada,” by Rich Juzwlak, probably covers everything most people need to know for now.
I know about Truvada not as a prevention drug but from dealing with friends who are HIV poz and take it as part of their antiretroviral therapy. But Juzwlak gets into how it applies to raw sex, the choice to bareback, and a lot of the more emotional aspects with respect to Truvada and HIV prevention. And it’s not just for gay men. It’s for everyone.
The understanding that I might benefit from using Truvada dawned on me slowly, like I was stuck permanently at 6 a.m. for a few months. It was other guys who helped prompt my decision, like the ones I had the sense not to fuck raw when they assumed that’s what we’d be doing on first meeting, or the ones who tried to fuck me bare so casually, it was like they were going in there to check their mail. It was the guy who told me, “Yes, I’m negative—I was tested in February,” in October. It was the guy that I hooked up with who then proposed a threesome via text: “My friend said he wants to fuck raw.” This was a few texts after I told him, “I play safe,” and he said, “Yeah, me too.” A few texts later, he admitted he’d already fucked raw with our prospective third.
Juzwlak also mentions important things we don’t often see when reading about Truvada, like long term side effects and cost. One prescription costs around $1,389.99 and it can reduce bone density and cause kidney problems. Those who are HIV poz and are on antiretroviral therapy and take ARVs like Truvada have regular blood work done every three months to monitor all these things. It’s a way of life.
On top of that, there are immediate side effects:
Unfortunately, I discovered that taking Truvada gave me too many new things to feel. Whatever short-term side effects I could get, I did. Less than a week out, I started to feel a deep sense of fatigue every day around 6 p.m. It was something I could power through and eventually shake, but it made me feel like dropping to the floor and passing out instead of going to the gym or attending movie screenings. I had perpetual muscle soreness, especially in my legs, as if I had squatted way more than I should have the day before. My skin got worse. I developed a disgusting, raised rash on my torso that my dermatologist told me was the result of a nickel allergy (I had been wearing the culprit belt for years). I was gassy.
From what I’ve seen with friends, I can back all this up…and even add more because different people react differently.
But one of the most interesting things about this piece I spotted was that most people who are on Truvada for prevention don’t always take it regularly which could present even more issues. If you talk to any ID doc who treats mostly HIV patients he/she will tell you one of the most common things with people on ARV meds is that they aren’t always consistent with taking their meds. I don’t know why. It’s just a fact that I’ve heard many, many times from health professionals.
As I said above, if you don’t know anything about HIV prevention or Truvada you really should read this article. I only covered the bare essentials here. It’s long, but covers so many aspects you’ll basically get everything you need to know right there.
You can find it here at Gawker.
Elaine Stritch Who?
Of course I’ve heard of Elaine Stritch, however, she’s never been my icon. I appreciate her work (what little I know of it), so please don’t get me wrong. But she’s another one I wouldn’t stand in line to see on my best day. But she is, according to this article, a “gay icon,” and even she didn’t know it until recently.
‘I’m just becoming aware of it – by articles such as this one,’ she admits to PrideSource magazine.
‘I really have become very much aware, first of all, what great audiences they are. And it isn’t that I finally discovered that gay people understand me and straight people don’t – oh, no no no. Not a word of truth in that. I can’t tell you how many straight people I know that think I am the cat’s pajamas.’
Now go back and read that statement again, but this time replace gay people with African Americans…or any other minority. “What great audiences THEY are…” If she were talking about African Americans or any other minority that would ring of racism. I don’t fault Stritch for this. I truly don’t, and I’m not getting all PC here now. We are all to blame. And she’s right. I’m sure there are even more straight people who think she’s the “cat’s pajamas” than there are gay people.
James Franco’s New Gay Parody
Last November I posted about James Franco’s gay parody with Seth Rogen, and now he’s done another for the cover of Vogue. This time the focus is on Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, with Rogen photo shopped wearing a wedding dress and Franco with his arms around him.
In Franco’s recreation, Rogen wears the dress as he’s ‘held’ by his best mate.
‘Seth! Love you, dog,’ Franco writes above the doctored picture.
I think everyone loves these parodies…well, almost everyone. I’ve had a few tight-assed reviewers who didn’t like my novel take offs on straight romance films. But that’s another story. One didn’t even have the sense of humor to realize it was a parody. But no harm done. Everyone has a right to an opinion, even those without a clue.