World AIDS Day 2013: In Conversation with the Terrence Higgins Trust Fri, 2013-11-29 17:26

For World AIDS Day 2013, Donato Mancini from SOAS Radio talks to Justin Harbottle, spokesperson for the Terrence Higgins Trust, a not-for-profit organisation based in the UK. The Trust has engaged in the fight against HIV since 1982.

This podcast discusses therapeutic advances in HIV medication, post-exposure prophylaxis, and a drug regimen targeted at HIV-sensitive groups which may bridge the gap towards a preemptive HIV vaccine: pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

As is the case whenever revolutionary measures are introduced to the domain of sexual health, PrEP has caused diverse reactions in the MSM (men who have sex with men) community: from praise of the measure that could potentially stop HIV from continuously infecting individuals and mutating – thus bringing the spread of the virus to a halt – to more conservative stances that accuse PrEP of further legitimising what caused the epidemic in the first place: unprotected sexual promiscuity.

However successful PrEP may be (a 99% infection prevention in HIV+/HIV- condom-discarding couples was achieved in several pilot studies across the world) it does not protect from other STDs.

Harbottle compares this discrepancy in opinion to the one created by methods that are fully accepted and acceptable, like the contraceptive pill.