Activist Larry Kramer, author of The Normal Heart and key player in the fight against HIV discrimination and stigma during the height of the AIDS epidemic, sat down with The New York Times this week to talk about HBO’s film adaptation of his play and, despite its release this weekend, the unfinished work his movement is still tasked with.
As the founder of nonprofit AIDS organization Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Kramer says young people today have a responsibility to educate and protect themselves when it comes to having sex — a luxury he and millions of others were not afforded in the early days of the AIDS crisis.
On the topic of the controversial PrEP approach to having safe sex, he says “anybody who voluntarily takes an antiviral every day has got to have rocks in their heads. There’s something to me cowardly about taking Truvada instead of using a condom. You’re taking a drug that is poison to you, and it has lessened your energy to fight, to get involved, to do anything.”
On that note, Kramer also hopes Ryan Murphy’s The Normal Heart inspires young people to get involved in politics again. He notes how important government support was in researching and distributing some of the first antiretroviral medications:
“Considering how many of us there are, how much disposable income we have, how much brain power we have, we have achieved very little. We have no power in Washington, or anywhere else, and I say it over and over again, and it’s as if it falls on deaf ears. It doesn’t occur to people how to turn that around.”
The Normal Heart premieres on HBO this Sunday, May 25 at 9pm. Check out Variety‘s first review here.
There are so many thing wrong with this story and the attitudes of the commenters. First people need to edicts themselves on what PrEP actually is and does. It has been shown to have a 92% success rate at preventing HIV infections when taken as directed. Additionally, PrEP is not meant to be used alone. It was approved by the FDA as an added means of protection. This is just continued slut shaming by prejudiced older men who think us younger guys don’t get it. Guess what, we do. We’ve been beaten over the head for years with your stories of guilt and horror that it’s honesty just a broken record. I understand many died. Let the deaths of your friends and lovers not have been on vain.
Why would you want discredit a scientifically proven method and weapon in the arsenal against HIV/AIDS? Think back to the debates about the pill how many decades ago? Has female promiscuity increased? No. In fact the areas of the country with the most STIs are the ones that teach abstinence. Under-education leads to more problems. At an estimated 50,000 new seroconversions a year can we really afford not to take extra precautions? Oh, and that whole thing about men no longer using condoms? Well that’s a fear mongering lie. A study out of SF has shown there a no associated increase or decrease in condomless sex associate with PrEP.
And you’re right, we made our own role models, and it looks like we still need to.
The comments about chemical paranoia, slut shaming, and denial of the facts are sounding a lot like anti-vaxers, Tea Party, and climate change deniers.
WHY take an expensive pill (meds) with dangerous side effects for the rest of your life, when you are ALREADY HIV-negative without it?
PrEP WEBPOLL: CAST YOUR VOTE TODAY!
Web polls are OPEN at: http://www.hiv-ub2.net/PrEPFailed.html