A letter authored by Congressman Tom MacArthur and signed by 13 additional Congress members including New Jersey Congresspeople Bonnie Watson Coleman, Frank LoBiondo, Donald Norcross, and Frank Pallone Jr. prompted the Air Force to update its policy, allowing its pilots to take to take Truvada, a popular medication designed to prevent HIV infection commonly known as PrEP.
“The Air Force made the right call by adopting a service-wide policy that allows pilots to use PrEP, a daily medication that significantly lowers the risk of contracting HIV,” Said Congressman Tom MacArthur. “This change in policy protects the health of pilots at higher risk of becoming HIV-positive and may encourage men and women who never thought to join the Air Force to now do so. I am grateful I could lead this effort and support our nation’s LGBTQ service members. I’d especially like to thank the members of Garden State Equality for their advocacy in South Jersey and for bringing this issue to my attention.”
Garden State Equality believed the Air Force's policy represented an overly conservative approach that bordered on homophobia, since the medication is commonly used by gay, sexually active individuals. Meanwhile, Air Force leaders said they need time to rewrite older policies.
“The restriction on Truvada for Air Force pilots was discriminatory, as the majority of lives affected by this policy were gay people who were given no evidence to support the need for this ban.” said Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality. “We thank Congressman Tom MacArthur and the other members of Congress who supported this initiative to fight for equality amongst our troops.”
Up until the fall of 2018, the Air Force did not allow its pilots to take Truvada.
While airmen who had been denied a prescription saw the move as the Air Force indicting them under the assumption they are living a promiscuous lifestyle not in keeping with service values, Air Force officials said the previous policy was based on safety concerns.
To read the full letter, CLICK HERE