Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Letters to the Editor


AHF's fear-based propaganda

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation's "Principles of Prevention" ad spread in the June 5 issue was misleading – and insulting, coming as it did a week after Liz Highleyman's coverage of an encouraging community forum ["PrEP talk draws a crowd," May 29] .

AHF refuses to admit that daily use of Truvada gives near total protection. "Among subject with a detectable study-drug level," the iPrEx study found a "reduction in HIV risk of 92 percent. ... After adjustment for reported unprotected receptive anal intercourse, the relative risk reduction was 95 percent." (Grant, "Preexposure Chemoprophylaxis for HIV Prevention in MSM," New England Journal of Medicine, December 30, 2010). In one year on PrEP, I've never missed a dose. I resent AHF's belief that we can't be trusted to take our medication.

Next, AHF predicts "epidemic levels of STDs." If anything, the monthly (Kaiser) or quarterly (City Clinic/Demo Project) counseling and testing required with PrEP would reduce sexually transmitted disease transmission. How many other people test so regularly?

AHF posits a "high risk of drug resistance." The Food and Drug Administration prescribing guidelines include frequent HIV testing, precisely so that a PrEP patient who does seroconvert can be switched to a three-drug regimen right away. (As a two-drug combination, Truvada by itself is strong enough to prevent, not treat, HIV.)

Finally, what safe-sex polemic would be complete without a little moralizing? AHF says that PrEP might be good for sero-discordant "couples." Early results from the PARTNER study suggest that negative people in couples are already well-protected, without condoms, if the positive person is receiving HIV treatment and remains undetectable. Risk comes from sexual partners we don't know, whose HIV status and health status we don't know. If prevention is the goal, people not in monogamous relationships should be the first in line for PrEP, and AHF should abandon its unscientific, fear-based propaganda.


Paul Marcelin

Alameda, California


Lily's out now

It was not the biggest entertainment tour, but it was a joy for those of us who saw Lily Tomlin last week at the Nourse Theater for City Arts and Lectures. Strangely, I thought the most moving moment was not an old routine, and not even a routine, just an introduction to a story about our marriage rights, when she said: "us gays."

It's important to remember how difficult it was for Tomlin and others to come and be out in the 1970s, when she turned down the cover of Time magazine because she would only get it if she outed herself (1975), and earned it for her work two years later. We've come a long way, babies, and guys, and gals, and Qs and Bs and Ts! Thanks Lily, et al.


Charles Spiegel

San Francisco


Fantasy and reality

Regarding the Armory's party theme brouhaha ["Pride and prisons," June 19, BARtab]: how superb the timing of the self-appointed culture commissioners to dictate to the LGBT community how to celebrate and what constitutes acceptable sexual fantasies – not to mention a hysterical attack on the (law-abiding) BDSM community. My concern, vis--vis crime at this time, would be a clueless thug shooting into a crowd on Pink Saturday. A happy (and safe) Pride to all.


Steve Evers

San Francisco


Give D8 candidate a second look

In a district where there are so many new evictions, poor treatment of minorities, and the homeless being ousted, there is one clear choice currently running for supervisor – Michael Petrelis. Wait, Petrelis? Are you serious? Yes, I am. I say that you should give him a second look. The face of AIDS and the ability to get expedient trials and medicines to the populace; Petrelis helped make that happen – in New York's ACT UP, and here in San Francisco, as well as across the nation. He easily finds out, and tracks, the city's money: Where it is going and not going? Did you know that Pride gets the least money from the city, while bringing in the most revenue? Why is this? Where is the city's money going, and why? Petrelis knows those answers and many more. I urge you to give Petrelis another look, and support him in his bid for District 8 supervisor. He'll work for you.


Veronika Fimbres

San Francisco


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