Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    A tiny pill with big promise

    There may not yet be a cure for HIV, but we may have the next best thing: a little blue pill which, if taken once daily, reduces your chances of contracting HIV by nearly 100 percent.

    That’s right: Truvada, also known as PrEP (or, Pre-Exposure Prophylactic), is the preventative pill the world should be embracing as one step towards eradicating HIV as we know it.

    Unfortunately, one of its side effects is controversy.

    Firstly, the pill is expensive without health insurance — up to $1,300 for a 30-day supply — meaning many of those most at risk for HIV infection can’t afford it. Luckily, there are many groups nationwide conducting PrEP studies that will pay you to take the pill, in the hopes of spreading awareness and encouraging safer sex practices.

    However, many have begun to bash the little blue pill, calling it a “party drug” and blaming it for the current STI epidemic sweeping major urban areas across the country — including the Bay Area.

    These opponents claim that Truvada makes men feel more comfortable having sex, with or without a condom.

    But this is a good thing. Many of my older gay peers saw dozens, even hundreds of their friends taken by HIV/AIDS; they know what it is to fear having sex, and to see every sex act as a potential death sentence. They wouldn’t wish that fear on anybody.

    I remember the terror of being an 18-year-old boy, waiting for the results of an HIV test that could change your life forever. HIV is not the disease it once was, but nobody wants to find themselves faced with a chronic illness that will impact you economically and psychologically for the rest of your life.

    I don’t feel that fear anymore. I have been on Truvada for over a year-and-a-half, and I could not be happier with my sex life. I do not fear having sex; I get to live the life my older gay peers would have wanted for me.

    There are many reasons for our current STI epidemic, and Truvada may be an indirect cause. But rather than demonizing Truvada or trying to prevent gay men from enjoying sex, we need to focus on the bigger picture.

    We should be pouring money into desperately underfunded HIV/STI testing and treatment services. Those who can should be getting tested every six to eight weeks. And we should fight to ensure our little blue pill brings about a very bright future.

    KR Nava is editor-in-chief at the Tower. E-mail him at krwords(at)gmail.com.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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