Taking the T

This is a worrisome development, especially if the idea spreads.

“Taking a T.” That’s what HIV-negative gay men call the growing practice of downing the AIDS drug tenofovir and, with fingers crossed, hoping it protects them from the virus during unprotected sex.

It’s being sold in packets along with Viagra and Ecstasy in gay dance clubs — and even prescribed by physicians, say doctors and AIDS prevention experts. The trend has alarmed public health officials. There is no proof that tenofovir protects against HIV transmission, they say. People who practice unsafe sex while taking the drug could still become infected or suffer side effects from it.

Recreational use of AIDS drugs also might increase overall resistance to the medications, HIV experts say. “This is a very worrisome development,” said Dr. David Hardy, an HIV doctor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He said the drug could lead to an even further erosion of condom use, which studies show has been falling among high-risk populations.

A survey released in July by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, conducted at gay pride events in four cities, found that 7% of uninfected men had taken an AIDS medication before engaging in risky behavior and that about a fifth had heard of someone who had.

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One Response to “Taking the T”

  1. As someone who is HIV positive for over twenty years, I cannot believe the stupidity going on out there. At least back then we didn’t know much and had yet to see everyone dying around us. Life on these meds is no pick nick.

    All I can do is shake my head, and hope that this dosen’t become the norm. Are we so stuck in adolescence in the gay community that we are willing to at best risk the quality of our lives just for a self-centred moment of pleasure and escapism?