The Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada as PrEP in 2012. But that’s not good enough for the Air Force, which still doesn’t allow its pilots to take the daily HIV-prevention tablet, and the policy is frustrating aviators.
Several anonymous service members told Military.com that they were being forced to choose between their careers and their health because Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is not on the list of approved medications for pilots. As a result, they must apply for a waiver, a process that can lead to embarrassing and intrusive personal questions as well as a sense of unfairness about who gets approval.
What’s more, when deciding on transferals between military branches, some service members are taking into consideration whether a particular division allows PrEP usage.
“I’ve weighed my options,” one anonymous pilot said in the article. “In the Navy, my prescription is already taken care of and I have that established. If I go Air Force…I’m not willing to put my safety or my health at risk if they’re ignorant to something that’s actually really beneficial for a lot of people.”
Military.com reports that the Air Force may decide to change its PrEP policy in the fall.
The Navy allows the usage of the medication, while the Air Force bans usage for those who fly. This doesn’t, however, mean that no one is on it.
To further complicate matters, those who contract HIV while in service are considered non-deployable, although they are not kicked out of the military. That may change under President Trump’s recent “Deploy or Get Out” policy. For more on that and a related lawsuit, read the recent POZ article “Sergeant With HIV Sues Defense Department Over ‘Archaic’ Policies.”