Go, Team, Go: Join David Campos’ PrEP Rally This Thursday!
Image from the San Francisco AIDS Foundation
Okay, there won’t be a colour guard flag dancing to Total Eclipse of the Heart, nor will a bevvy of tight-sweatered cheerleaders rush in and form a pyramid while holding sparklers in their teeth. And whereas you may not want to piant your face two-toned or scream your school slogan, I assure you this rally is definitely shout worthy.
Why might you ask? Well, although he’s still in a dead heat with David Chiu and simultaneously helping to defend the rights of how people identify themselves, Supervisor David Campos’ has started another crusade for his constituency by wanting to make PrEP available to every citizen of the City of San Francisco.
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If you aren’t jumping for joy yet, you might not quite know what PrEP is. The San Francisco Department of Public Health describes it much better, but, in a nutshell, PrEP or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis is an FDA-approved HIV prevention method utilizing the drug Truvada. You take the pill every day and it can lower your risk of contracting HIV by as much as 99%. Not a replacement for condoms, but something to use in conjunction, it has been so effective thus far that the CDC issued a recommendation to doctors to use it as a preventative treatment this past May. You may start the ecstatic shouting now.
Image from Instinct Magazine/ Getty Images
The odd thing though, is that there is still a lot of questions, lack of education, and stigma around PrEP. So even though most insurance companies cover it (as well as Healthy San Francisco, Medicare and Medicaid) fewer then 1,000 people in town have access to it, which given SF’s long and intimate history with HIV/AIDS, seems just a tad insane.
People trying to get on PrEP often run into road blocks by not knowing where or what to ask for, dealing with hesitant or ill informed physicians, or out right shaming from medical professionals and the community alike. Or they may not just be able to afford it.
This Thursday, Campos is holding a special hearing at City Hall to ask the city to make PrEP available to every San Franciscan, regardless of their income. Beforehand he is hosting a rally on the Polk Street steps of City Hall and wants as many people to come and show the mayor and the rest of the board of supervisors how important this program is. Thousands of people literally died fighting to get us to this point. We are talking about FREE access to protection against HIV. The least we can do is show up.
However, many of us can’t get the time off and work for people who could care less if we have access to a lunch hour, much less protective medication. If you work for one these trolls, fear not- you can make your voice heard, regardless. In order for this program to be implemented it needs to pass the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. If you have a cell phone or a laptop you can either call, e-mail, OR if you just can’t let your fountain pens and typewriter ribbons go, write a letter to, your closest district supe. Yes, hammering out a strongly worded missive to your local representative may sound like the fuitle ranting of your malcontent uncle back home, but on a city level and in a town this small, you’d be surprised how much weight your words hold.
So throw your hands up in the air and show some spirit. This fall, we have the hometown advantage.
Below is a list of contact info for our distinguished board and, of course, Mister Ed:
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
Telephone: (415) 554-6141
Fax: (415) 554-6160
District 11 (Outer Mission; Excelsior, Ingelside)
(415) 554-6975 – Voice
(415) 554-6979 – Fax
Massive SF PrEP Rally
Thursday, September 18, 2014
San Francisco City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place (Polk Street btw Grove and McAllister)
Editor’s Note: Stephen Torres is a card -carrying homo and executive board member of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, which has endorsed David Campos for California State Assembly.