Zachary Quinto, HIV, AIDS

Zachary Quinto Kinda Slut Shamed Some PrEP Users, But Was He Right?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) a pill you have to take every day and it is to prevent HIV infection if you are exposed to the virus. The pill has become popular because currently there is no cure for HIV; combined with condoms, PrEP has proven highly effective.
PrEP, Pill, HIV, AIDS
PrEP
But nonetheless Zachary Quinto basically told Out Magazine nine months ago that he does not agree with gay men using PrEP as a way to enjoy unprotected recreational sex, saying it encourages “laziness” rather than continued fearful vigilance against the still raging HIV and AIDS epidemic:
AIDS has lost the edge of horror it possessed when it swept through the world in the ’80s… Today’s generation sees it more as something to live with and something to be much less fearful of. And that comes with a sense of, dare I say, laziness… [On PrEP,] We need to be really vigilant and open about the fact that these drugs are not to be taken to increase our ability to have recreational sex… There’s an incredible underlying irresponsibility to that way of thinking… and we don’t yet know enough about this vein of medication to see where it’ll take us down the line.
After being accused of slut-shaming, Quinto clarified his statement to the Huffington Post:

What troubles me — and what I was trying to speak to in my interview — is an attitude among (some of) the younger generation of gay men — that we can let our guard down against this still very real threat to our collective well-being. I have had numerous conversations in my travels with young gay people who see the threat of HIV as diminished to the point of near irrelevance. I have heard too many stories of young people taking PrEP as an insurance policy against their tendency toward unprotected non-monogamous sex. THAT is my only outrage.

How gay men have sex with each other was unilaterally redefined for nearly two generations as a result of AIDS. I was simply trying to assert my belief that we need to be especially vigilant and accountable to ourselves and one another at this moment in our evolution. It is a tremendous advancement in the fight against the disease that scientists have developed this particular medication. But it’s still early — that’s all.

But just last week, Quinto once again clarified his original statement, this time to address the slut-shaming accusations:

“I tend to be averse to pharmaceuticals anyway. I’m not a big pill popper in my life. Look, I just think we need to be vigilant as a community and a community of gay men. It was not my intention to judge anybody… to rankle anybody, or to put myself in some kind of superior position by any means. I think if people use PrEP as part of a responsible regimen of taking care of themselves and preserving their bodies and their well-being and the well-being of the people they’re having sex with, then more power to them. There was this thing that I was ‘slut-shaming.’ Anybody who knows me knows that that is the last thing I would ever do. I just think that we can’t let our guard down.”

Quinto says he in no way meant to slut-shame anyone, but only tried make people aware that HIV is still a serious disease. He may have a point: compared to the birth control pill, which is 99.9 percent effective, the Centers for Disease Control says that PrEP is only 92 percent effective — that is, there’s still a chance that it won’t work every time.

(featured image via @Zacharyquinto)