Thursday, December 01, 2016

SF Weekly: Poz Inmate Michael Johnson & HIV PrEP Costs

The practice among some HIV negative gay men willfully seeking to become infected, bug chasing, is getting renewed attention on this World AIDS Day.

Over at the SF Weekly, the relatively new managing editor Channing Joseph, who's black and gay, has a cover story about this queer sexual subculture.

He requested my thoughts related to my prison pen-pal Michael Johnson and separate from that, he quoted me criticizing HIV prevention advocates especially at AIDS Inc group failing to campaign for lower Truvada pricing from Gilead.

I'm pleased to see Michael receiving a bit of mainstream media attention today. I'll be mailing him a copy of the article so he read it and know that he is remembered. An excerpt from the article:

"San Francisco has not made a practice of criminalizing HIV infection, as has occurred in some other places. For instance, Missouri is at the other end of the spectrum.

"Last year, the state sentenced a former college wrestler, Michael Johnson, 23 at the time, to 30 years in prison for infecting one of his sexual partners and putting four others at risk.

"Michael Petrelis, a longtime San Francisco AIDS activist and advocate for the repeal of HIV criminalization laws, has been corresponding with Johnson in prison.

"Petrelis tells SF Weekly that he applauds the city’s efforts to promote awareness of PrEP but says the effort falls short when it comes to making the drug affordable.

"'PrEP is one vital tool of prevention but advocates … do not address the pricing of Truvada …' he says. 'Yes, let’s applaud the effective prevention capability of PrEP, but we can’t overlook how much all HIV … drugs cost.' (PrEP can run to between $1,300 and $2,000 a month without insurance.)"

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