April 16, 2014
I don’t know what’s worse, that gay men who use or support the use and development of Truvada are being slut-shamed, or that the worst of the shaming is coming from other gay men.
A few quick facts: I’m 55 years old. I’m recently married to man I’ve been with for seven and a half years, all of them monogamous. Prior to that I was single for many years and sexually active.
I turned 23 in 1981, living in Los Angles just as the AIDS plague began to spread. The death toll was staggering, culminating in the excruciating and humiliating death of my partner Jim in 1991. (The very idea of a dignified death, if such a thing really exists, is made a mockery of when a man shits his pants walking down the beach; but that’s what his last months were like.)
Fast forward to 2014 and, in addition to a host of drugs that help those with HIV survive, we now have Truvada proving to be effective in preventing HIV transmission to the uninfected. This should be great news. Instead, it is being responded to with shocking dismissal, judgment, and slut-shaming of those who want to enjoy sex without Latex.
I’m all for marriage equality. I get it that as a society we’ve moved marriage equality into a status most of us never imagined we’d see, but with it we have become mainstream in some unflattering ways as well. It’s as if we not only wanted to be equal, but to be equally harsh in our judgments of those who do not want what we have or who prefer to have vigorous sex lives with a variety of partners.
Stop the slut-shaming! To call men who take Truvada “Truvada whores” is no different from conservative reactionaries who blame women for being raped and who accuse every woman who uses the pill of being a slut.
Please let us re-think this before it goes too far, before this drug becomes so stigmatized as a “party drug” that men feel shame in taking it or, god forbid, refuse to use it and instead continue the appalling rate of new infections.
It’s 2014, not 1991 or 1984. No man who takes Truvada is a whore, and any man who calls him one is an asshole.