Is New Anti-HIV Campaign Doing More Harm Than Good?

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An estimated 1 in 8 people in America are living with HIV and are completely unaware they are infected, could a new prevention campaign be the answer or is it part of the problem?

The campaign, which promotes the HIV prevention pill PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), is taking a bold approach with the slogans, “Expletive without fear” and “fearless expletive.” To better understand this controversial approach, Dr. Robert Bolan the chief medical officer at the Los Angeles LGBT center and the Director of Advocacy & Policy Research Dr. Adam Cohen of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation join The Doctors.

Dr. Bolan, who is behind the campaign, defends the in your face approach. “The campaign is really designed to begin a conversation about how to protect oneself from HIV,” he says, noting that the FDA, the Federal Drug Association, the CDC, and the World Health Organization have all endorsed the PrEP pill as a safe an effective means to prevent HIV. “We’re trying to attract the attention of individuals who need to know more about how to protect themselves against HIV."

Watch: Father Injects Son with HIV!

The Doctors take issue that the campaign while promoting the use of PrEP is also not communicating the need to still use condoms, as a slew of other STDS (like herpes, gonorrhea, hepatitis) are not prevented by PrEP. They feel this campaign is misleading.

Dr. Bolan defends the campaign saying it begins as a conversation between the patient and their doctor about protecting themselves against HIV and he stresses that condom use is a part of the campaign.

Watch: Will HIV Prevention Pill Lead to Promiscuity?

Dr. Cohen offers his take on HIV prevention telling The Doctors his best advice is, “Get tested… and wear a condom… PrEP is a part of a toolbox, which includes condoms, testing, and other preventive measures in order to protect yourself during sexual activity.”

Do you think this bold campaign is effective or misleading? Get more information on PrEP here or speak to your medical care provider.

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