Friday, April 18, 2014

Gilead on Weinstein & Truvada = Party Drug; AHF Got $10M in Grants 

Earlier this week, the executive director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation Michael Weinstein had this to say to AP reporter David Crary about using Truvada as a pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV infection among negative gay men:

"Let's be honest: It's a party drug."

Talk about scientific ignorance and adding stigma to Truvada and gays using it properly to avert acquiring HIV. Sheesh. That comment, and years of bullying on a host of AIDS issues by Weinstein, pictured, triggered a much-needed backlash and Los Angeles gay leader Eric Leue began a petition to have him removed from AHF.

Curious about how much money Weinstein and AHF have accepted from Gilead over the years, I pored over the IRS 990s for the Gilead Foundation and here are the figures I found:

2005: $600,000

2006: $750,000

2007: $1,500,000

2008: $1,750,000

2009: $1,000,000

2010: $1,000,000

2011: $1,000,000

2012: Zero


That total apparently is not the full amount.

I reached out to Gilead's representative Amy Flood who is a director of their foundation, asking questions about these numbers and any other donations they have made to AHF, and for a reaction to Weinstein's "party drug" remark. Flood replied:

With regards to grant funding, in some cases your numbers are off (that may be because in certain years the Gilead Foundation grant was paid in two installments). Gilead Foundation funding from 2005-2011 totals $10,600,000. 

Over roughly the same time period, other grant funding or project support from Gilead Sciences, Inc. totals approximately $600,000. Gilead also provides funding for a direct product donation to Uganda Cares, a clinic in Uganda, not captured in the previous numbers. 

With respect to Michael Weinstein’s statement, we aren’t going to comment other than to say Gilead believes PrEP has an important role to play as part of the HIV prevention landscape, as evidenced by clinical data. 

As you are likely aware, we are not promoting Truvada as PrEP but we are actively engaged in helping to communicate accurate and appropriate information about its usage. We have, for example, supported (and we continue to support) the efforts of community-based organizations and public health agencies to educate their constituents about the role of PrEP as part of comprehensive HIV prevention. 

One question among many I'd like Weinstein to answer is why he's biting the Gilead hand that has so generously fed his AHF coffers. He should be subject to much more scrutiny regarding his opposition based on ignorance against Truvada as an HIV prevention option.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you have some way to investigate this but I heard at a provider meeting in Baton Rouge, LA. two case managers raise a concern about several of their clients being seen at the AHF clinic here in Baton Rouge. Once they transferred to the AHF clinic, the providers there took them off their ARTs. What is going on? first fighting PrEP, now will it be all medications? this almost seems criminal to me.