FOF #1909 – A Pill That Prevents HIV

Dec 12, 2013 · 1985 views

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It’s been known for the past couple of years, that sexually active people can dramatically reduce their chances of becoming HIV positive if they take the AIDS medication Truvada, as a Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP.

Today, psychologist and health care activist Damon L Jacobs joins us to talk about PrEP, why he started taking the medication and why HIV/AIDS is much more than an infectious disease.


  1. Than says:

    Never really had me but lost me at ‘higher power’.

  2. Did Damon ever say on the podcast how much unprotected sex he was having? Is he in a relationship? How many partners per month? Does he use a condom always, sometimes, or never? How does he find sex partners: apps, bars, sex clubs, dates? Is he a bottom or a top? I apologize if this was all there and I missed it (I was listening in and out while getting ready for work this morning), but I think Damon needed to be forthcoming about how taking the PrEP affects his personal decision making around condom use and bareback sex since he is promoting the drug for HIV- people and he is not a medical doctor or a scientist.

    P.S. I saw Damon the Eagle last summer and recognized him from the podcast. I’ll see “Hi” in the future.

  3. Hey Tim,

    I understand your curiosity. But all and all, what I do and who I do doesn’t effect the science. I talk about PrEP so people can learn about it and then make educated and responsible decisions with their partner(s). The 99% efficacy of PrEP is there regardless of my personal choices.

    However, if you buy me a drink at The Eagle next time, you’ll get more personal answers. 🙂

  4. Con Cerned says:

    Damon is an eloquent speaker his efforts to change the prevention conversation should be applauded.
    I am also deeply concerned for what will happen when condoms are abandoned even more for widespread use of PrEP, under the pretense of being healthy and making intelligent choices. The proliferation HIV was not a freak accident; a microorganism took advantage of human behavior, that being the gay sexual liberation in America in the 1970s, when men exchanged sexual fluids with other men at high volume. Like the efficacy rates and potential of PrEP to stop HIV, this, too, is a fact.
    If we as a community abandon condom use and indulge in widespread unprotected anal sex with PrEP, it will leave a gaping opportunity for the rise of new microbe(s) to repeat the history of HIV. I am not an alarmist. Antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea is already here.
    Condoms may seem an unnatural barrier between two people that are perceived to limit intimacy, but they are also an unnatural barrier between two people to limit disease and, ultimately, suffering.

    • Isn’t condom abandonment already happening? If 50% of young men are saying they don’t even bother, then I can imagine a significant number of people aren’t using much protection at all.

      I know personally quite a few people on PrEP, not speaking for Damon here, but they strike me as very sexually active and simply don’t want to use any protection ever. They are of the mindset they would rather die than use a condom. They hate it that much.

      A more important issue for conversation is how our government and pharmaceutical industry has pretty much abandoned the development of new antibiotics and alternatives to anti-biotic treatments. Condoms, HIV, PrEP, gonorrhea and STDS will be a walk in the park if we don’t quickly change this major hole in our health care.

      It’s why you really can’t have a profit based healthcare system, because then only stuff that can be patented and profited will be developed. Cheap, effective treatments will be ignored.

      Can you imagine what it would be like if our fire department was “for profit?”

    • You are absolutely correct in your concerns about STD’s. PrEP does not protect against any STD’s other than HIV. I disagree with you about the inevitability of a microorganism taking advantage of sexual expression. Heterosexuals have quantitatively more sex, with less dire consequences. Furthermore, in most parts of the world, AIDS was/is not a “gay” disease, though in the U.S. it continues to affect the gay population.

      As Fausto point out, 50% of men on social applications ADMIT that they’re not using condoms. My own non-scientific evidence is that it is much higher than that. PrEP does not eliminate risk, it reduces risk.

  5. jimmyV says:

    PrEP is a wonderful tool in the ongoing fight against HIV but I’d doesn’t come without side effects. After talking to men that have been on truvada for a number of years I heard that many of these men are also put on a testosterone gel because it leaves them with erectile dysfunction. If you are just taking this drug in order to have bareback sex you may be defeating your purpose. Atripla is known for causing thyroid issues that can affect hormone levels and sexual performance.

    • – JimmyV – Erectile Dysfunction hasn’t been mentioned as a side effect in any of the studies, nor in the 50something people I know using Truvada for PrEP, not a single person has mentioned that. And believe me, I ask.

      Truvada has been used as an HIV treatment medication since 2004. It is used in combination with other medications, which can affect sexual desire/erections. In those cases, it can be very hard to sift out which medication is causing what. But Truvada used alone as for prevention has not caused that. I’m not saying it’s not medically possible, I’m just saying it hasn’t happened. Please let me know if you are aware otherwise.

    • joseph says:

      People with HIV due to medications and a whole host of other reason, yes even getting older can lead to erectile dysfunction. The people I have spoken with that are on PrEP have no decrease in sexual performance. They are also not on other medications that could complicate the issue.

      Lowered testosterone is not uncommon issue for men living with HIV.

  6. jimmyV says:

    I did more reading and its Emtricitabine/tenofovir used along with Truvada that causes this side effect. Lets just say the subject of Erectile distention is a situation that a good friend dealt with and the cause was HIV medication causing low testosterone levels. Atripla is known for this side effect a friend as been out it since it came out and had this side effect testosterone was prescribed to him. Its a common problem and it is not talked about much many doctors will not even ask about it. When you have HIV your shouldn’t be having sex that is the medical opinion that seems to be widespread in the infectious disease community. If sex is discussed it has to do with the use of Condoms.

  7. james says:

    Ugh, you’re still trying to hawk that lemon? Healthy people don’t want to take drugs with side effects and people so reckless they can’t be bothered to wear condoms for sex are certainly not going to take a pill everyday whether they’re having sex or not. In fact 90% of the people in the PrEP studies weren’t compliant. Disaster waiting to happen. This is just like when gay guys took a bunch of antibiotics before they had sex pre-AIDS to keep from getting STDs. Look how well that worked out. When body fluids are exchanged diseases happen. You may just bring out something worse than AIDS and all because you’re so entitled you think you can have sex with as many people as you want, however you want.

  8. Douglas says:

    Condom use has to be the way forward. Soon we won’t just be talking about HIV. As antibiotic resistance increases Doctors are already using the last weapons in their arsenal against syphilis & gonorrhea not to mention various other STDs.

  9. Hey I personally really loved this show. Like a lot and it was amazing. I would love to see Damon on the podcast more oftenly, his point of view was really interesting.

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