Zachary Quinto found himself in the middle of a swirling controversy last fall after making candid remarks on the anti-HIV medication PrEP. Now, in a new interview, Quinto's doubling back on his comments to clarify any misrepresentation.
It all started last November, when Quinto was interviewed by Out Magazine for his inclusion in their annual OUT100.
“I think there’s a tremendous sense of complacency in the LGBT community,” Quinto told the magazine. “AIDS has lost the edge of horror it possessed when it swept through the world in the ’80s. Today’s generation sees it more as something to live with and something to be much less fearful of. And that comes with a sense of, dare I say, laziness.”
That wasn't the controversial part. This was, when he was asked to comment on PrEP:
We need to be really vigilant and open about the fact that these drugs are not to be taken to increase our ability to have recreational sex. There’s an incredible underlying irresponsibility to that way of thinking… and we don’t yet know enough about this vein of medication to see where it’ll take us down the line.
With mounting outrage within the community, Quinto penned an op-ed for the Huffington Post in which he addressed the "spirited dialogue" his interview had generated.
What troubles me–and what I was trying to speak to in my interview–is an attitude among (some of) the younger generation of gay men – that we can let our guard down against this still very real threat to our collective well-being. I have had numerous conversations in my travels with young gay people who see the threat of HIV as diminished to the point of near irrelevance.
I have heard too many stories of young people taking PrEP as an insurance policy against their tendency toward unprotected non-monogamous sex. THAT is my only outrage.
Now Quinto is again looking back at the controversial remarks, offering further insight during a recent one-on-one with HuffPost Gay Voices Editor-At-Large Michelangelo Signorile.
Look, I just think we need to be vigilant as a community and a community of gay men. It was not my intention to judge anybody or to rankle anybody, or to put myself in some kind of superior position by any means.
I think if people use PrEP as part of a responsible regimen of taking care of themselves and preserving their bodies and their well-being and the well-being of the people they’re having sex with, then more power to them. There was this thing that I was ‘slut-shaming.’ Anybody who knows me knows that that is the last thing I would ever do.
I just think that we can’t let our guard down.