Main | Thursday, April 29, 2010

HomoQuotable - Sean Strub

"The approach to prevention and treatment of HIV in the U.S. has undergone a radical and dangerous shift over the past few months. The new concept, called 'Test and Treat' (TNT) or 'Testing with Linkage to Care' (TLC) will dramatically increase HIV testing, identify more people with HIV and "link" them to care. Those are worthy objectives.

"The danger is that some policy leaders driving these ideas are more interested in 'treatment as prevention', meaning getting people with HIV on antiretroviral treatment, than they are in providing the best possible healthcare for them. Because antiretroviral treatment makes one less likely to transmit HIV, they believe treating all people with HIV is a good prevention strategy. Neither the state of the science or government guidelines support antiretroviral treatment for every person with HIV, but advocates, public health officials and pharmaceutical companies are promoting the idea.

"There are also plenty of TNT/TLC proponents, aware of the ethical issues, who rightly recognize that treatment should be recommended only within government-established guidelines supported by conclusive science. But when important public health officials announce publicly that they seek to put everyone with HIV on treatment, it is cause for concern and ethically unacceptable without informed consent." - Longtime HIV/AIDS activist Sean Strub, writing for POZ Magazine.

Strub says that the new campaign to begin drug treatment immediately upon an HIV+ diagnosis is more of an attempt to reduce the infectiousness of the public and overlooks the danger and side-effects of long-term HAART therapy. I expressed a similar concern earlier this month.

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