'Drag Race's Brita Filter shares she used PrEP to cure another life-altering virus

RuPaul's Drag Race star Brita Filter
RuPaul's Drag Race star Brita Filter

Recently, RuPaul's Drag Race season 12 star Brita Filter spoke openly about her struggles with Hepatitis B and how PrEP turned out to be a cure.

In a recent Instagram Story, which was reposted to Reddit, Filter explained that when she was born, she had to have a blood transfusion that infected her with Hepatitis B (HBV). It became chronic, and her condition worsened when she entered her teens — even being put on the national liver transplant list for a short period when she was 17.

Filter's condition was so dire that she spent years thinking she would die young. "I always thought I wouldn't live past my thirties, and I had this YOLO mentality throughout my twenties and early thirties," the drag queen explained in her post. "I refrained from having sex because I didn't want to bring up my status even though everyone in the USA needs a Hep. B vaccine when they start kindergarten."

Instagram @thebritafilter

But that all started to change with the advent of PrEP — pre-exposure prophylaxis that is used to prevent HIV infections — which is now widely used within the queer community. Filter began taking the medication and found that "it got rid of the Hepatitis B virus."

According to Dr. Jon McGarry, the Chief Medical Officer for MISTR — which provides free and discreet access to PrEP and long-term HIV treatment — there is "no existing 'cure' for HBV," but for people with chronic HBV, PrEP "may reduce progression of the disease, limit damage to the liver, and reduce ability to spread the virus."

This is backed up by a study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet. According to the study, "…providing PrEP to individuals with HBV effectively results in treatment of their HBV infection," but it also warns that if you stop taking it, your HBV will likely reactivate or flare up, so patients need to be closely monitored by specialists. "Long-term use of oral PrEP has clear benefits in people with chronic HBV who are at risk of HIV infection, but PrEP cessation introduces the risks of HBV reactivation and acute liver failure.".

But luckily for Filter, the treatment worked, and she no longer has the virus that has plagued her life. "I've lived this way my entire life, and I no longer have it, she wrote. "It's gone!"

While this is fantastic news, Dr. McGarry warns that when you take a "viral suppression therapy" for HBV, much like with HIV medications, "the virus will tend to rebound and cause symptoms again once a patient stops using viral suppression medication."

Filter then closed her post by expressing her gratitude. "I'm so grateful for this fantastic news today," she said. "My family and I are elated. It's a great day, and I had to share this fantastic news. Also, to bring hope to people who might have something similar going on."

PRIDE contacted Brita Filter for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.