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Gay US politician confronts PrEP stigma

Gay US politician confronts PrEP stigma

Brian Sims stands in an office wearing a blue t-shirt that read 'don't get mad, get elected'

Gay Democrat Representative Brian Sims hit back at stigma around taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) against HIV with a social media post.

‘Starting this day off smart, proactive, and in control!’ He wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of a Truvada PrEP pill.

‘Think this is an invite to talk about my sex life? It’s not’ he wrote. ‘Think it’s an invite to shame me or anyone else? Grow up.’

‘“Stigma” is the thing our enemies want us to be stunted by. It literally kills us’, he also said.

Dangerous stigma

PrEP is proven to be 99% effective at preventing HIV.

But, according to a recent survey, around a third of those on medication faced a ’negative reaction’.

Respondents said people assume they are having lots of unprotected sex or are promiscuous because they are on PrEP.

Therefore, many people welcomed Sims’ proud declaration in comments underneath the post.

‘Thanks for being such an incredible advocate and inspiration’ one person wrote.

‘Good on you @briansimspa the stigma and shaming needs to stop’ another also wrote.

‘In the words of Rupaul ‘if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?’

Sims is the Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the 182nd district.

He’s held office since 2012. What’s more, he won more than 90% of votes in 2018.

See also

London councils agree to take 60% new PrEP trial patients, but it might not be enough

Surprising’ research finds STIs among PrEP users not linked to condom use

Sydney man’s ‘shock’ at acquiring HIV while taking PrEP ‘on demand’