A major HIV physicians group has requested that AIDS Healthcare Foundation correct or retract a key point in the stringently anti-pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) ad AHF placed in gay publications nationwide. Today, AHF spokesperson Ged Kenslea rebuffed the plea from American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM) executive director James M. Friedman, MHA, and held firm that the disputed points were indeed factual.

POZ recently published a thorough fact-check of the ad, finding the missive littered with egregious factual errors and mischaracterizations of the science behind Truvada (tenofovir/emtricitabine) as PrEP.

In his email to AHF, Friedman took issue with AHF’s use of a statistic from a recent survey of AAHIVM clinicians, the results of which were published in April. In the ad, AHF stated, “The American Academy of HIV Medicine recently released a poll showing that 95 percent of their members were concerned that their patients would not adhere to taking Truvada regularly as recommended by the FDA.”

Taken out of context, this point implies that almost all HIV clinicians harbor grave reservations about PrEP. However, as some physicians have recently pointed out, it is only natural that they should be concerned about adherence for every drug they prescribe—not necessarily about PrEP in particular.

As evidence that there is in fact significant physician enthusiasm about PrEP, Friedman pointed AHF to the larger context of the survey. For one, the poll showed that 79 percent of participants said they were “very likely” to prescribe to Truvada to HIV-negative men who have sex with men (MSM) who are having sex with an HIV-positive partner.

Friedman requested that AHF discontinue the use of the survey in its campaign, and that the agency, “wherever reasonable or feasible,” clarify or retract the ad’s claims about the survey.

AHF’s Kenslea said in response, “The fact that 79 percent of your members would prescribe PrEP to an MSM with an HIV-positive partner does not negate their concern over adherence.”

Kenslea concluded by saying, “Since there are no misstated facts, we will neither discontinue nor retract the use of this statistic.”