Cleve Jones is featured in the Showtime documentary (airing tonight) called The Last One, about the rise of HIV infections. He wades into the PrEP conversation with comments underscoring the importance of prevention by any means available:
“There is kind of a controversy going on in the community right now around the issue of pre-exposure prophylaxis. Of course the slogan from my generation was that Silence = Death. I think the slogan today needs to be that Treatment = Prevention. The researchers that I’m in touch with, and I still speak with some of them, tell me that a vaccine and a cure are still years away. But we do know that people were successfully treated, people who are HIV+ are being successfully treated are very unlikely to transmit the disease. Now we know that uninfected individuals by taking one pill a day can prevent themselves from being infected. Now there’s a controversy about this.
“People are speaking in very harsh terms about young people and criticizing them for being irresponsible. There’s a lot of finger wagging, shaming and blaming going on. I wish it would stop. My message to young people and what I think everybody should be saying to these young people is that we love them. That they are beautiful. That their lives matter. That their lives have value. That the choices they make are important. We’re talking about a population that does not need to be further put down. We’re talking about a group of people who need to be raised up and shown as much as possible the promise that we’ve seen when we look at them.”