New research shows that by providing medication to everyone with HIV, new infections drop by 96%. This groundbreaking news means there is finally a light at the end of AIDS epidemic.
But instead of being motivated by the new science, world leaders have used the financial crisis as an excuse to cut funding for AIDS programs. The result is grim -- instead of scaling up access to treatment, which costs less than $300 per person per year to begin with, people around the world are instead being told they must wait. In too many cases, they are simply waiting to die.
Next week in Washington, thousands of people from all over the world will gather for the International AIDS Conference. It's the first time in over two decades that it has been held in the US, and is a real opportunity to press world leaders to end AIDS. On Tuesday, July 24th, ACT UP Philadelphia will be taking 500 people to DC on free buses to call for world leaders to step up to the plate and finally end AIDS. Will you join them?
Yes, I'd love to come! I'll be on the bus on July 24th at 7am leaving from Broad and Walnut.
No, but I can write a message of support for the marchers.
The AIDS epidemic isn't just some far away problem. Because of the example of cities like Philly -- and the constant pressure of AIDS activists -- three years ago, Congress agreed to lift the federal ban on funding of syringe exchange. For a brief moment, federal money was finally going to go to support this simple, massively cost-effective harm reduction intervention. But then this year, right-wing forces in Congress succeed in reinstating the ban on funding of syringe exchange. Now more than ever, activism is needed, and hardly any group has a better track record of using direct action to win than ACT UP.
ACT UP has been on the front lines fighting this epidemic for 25 years, and our direct action approach has saved the lives of literally millions of people. But much of that progress is at risk because of the financial crisis. With the International AIDS Conference in the United States for the first time in 20 years, this is a huge moment to make sure that international media is shining its spotlight on the failure of world leaders to take the steps needed to end AIDS.
Can you join us in DC? Head to http://bit.ly/actup2dc to RSVP for your seat on the free bus.
Here is our banner. It was arrested by Homeland Security. We'll miss it, but we are glad our friends are safe.
|This photo is available for free media use.|
Sat, April 28, 2012
7pm until 2:00am - Karaoke
7pm-9:30pm - Bar proceeds benefit ACT UP
Raffles throughout the night
Adobe Cafe 1919 E Passyunk Ave
Come sing your heart out, try to win raffle prizes, and benefit ACT UP just by having a good time! 6 and a 1/2 hours to sing for those who are fighting for people living with HIV/AIDS in the community.
RSVP on Facebook, and help us spread the word!
February 8, 2012
WASHINGTON -- Last April, a dozen HIV/AIDS activists chained themselves together inside the office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and were arrested on federal charges. They were protesting cuts to HIV/AIDS programs and a proposal that would have prevented the District of Columbia from spending its own money for needle exchange programs. (The needle exchange restriction was ultimately dropped in the final budget deal.)
The same day, 41 D.C. voting rights activists, including Mayor Vincent Gray, also were arrested on Capitol Hill. They were charged with misdemeanors by the D.C. attorney general. Most, including the mayor, paid a $50 fine.
Some of the HIV/AIDS protestors, along with their supporters, gathered Wednesday on the steps of the D.C. government's Wilson Building in an effort to get the charges against them dropped by the U.S. Attorney's Office. They complained that compared with the voting rights activists, the HIV/AIDS protestors have been treated harshly.
One of the HIV/AIDS activists is Antonio Davis, a paralegal from Philadelphia who said he's been subjected to especially punitive treatment by prosecutors. Davis was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2002. He was also recently diagnosed with a painful joint disease. His doctor recommends that he use medical marijuana to manage his pain and to increase his appetite, Davis said.
The first prosecutor handling the activists' case ordered each person who had been arrested to pass three drug tests as a condition for having charges dropped. Davis' tests showed the presence of marijuana. There have been three prosecutors on the case by now, and the activists complained that each has set new conditions and failed to fulfill promises made by previous prosecutors. The other activists have been offered community service in exchange for the charges being dropped -- though they complain that prosecutors have twice refused to recognize the service.
Matthew Kavanagh said he completed 64 hours of service, twice the amount prosecutors said he had to do, and is now being required to do another 32 hours.
Because of his failed drug tests, Davis doesn't have that option. His trial is scheduled to begin May 7. He faces up to six months in jail if convicted.
Meantime, Davis said he has stopped using marijuana, causing mental and physical pain.
"I've been off of my medical marijuana for the last few months," he told The Huffington Post. "It has put me in great jeopardy with my health as well as my mental health."
"We think [marijuana] is a medicinal thing, and doctors are ordering people to do it. We think the U.S. attorneys should relax their views on it," said lawyer Ann Wilcox, who attended the press conference on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild. "But, you know, it's the federal government."
The activists' attorney, Mark Goldstone, told HuffPost he is "looking into a motion to dismiss," but hopes the U.S. Attorney's Office will decide to simply drop the case instead. Calls to the U.S. Attorney's Office were not returned Wednesday afternoon.
"The guy's got AIDS," Goldstone said. "He has a doctor's letter indicating that she's keeping track of him. It's inexplicable why they're treating him harshly."
Check out this fun “Wonderful Life” video ACT UP Philly just made, and please forward/post widely.
However, unlike Scrooge or the Grinch, the Mayor has yet to change his ways and include dedicated money for HIV/AIDS housing in the city budget. In the cast of holiday characters Mayor Nutter is looking more and more like Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life...
So this holiday season we re-enacted one of the famous scenes from It’s a Wonderful Life as a secret meeting between Mayor Nutter, Governor Corbett, City Council members, Health Commissioner Don Schwarz, local corporate CEOs and ACT UP members. (The original scene from the movie can be viewed online here.) Hope you have as much fun watching it as we did making it!
Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Holiday and New Year.
ACT UP Philly
FLASHMOB AND STARS
December 1, 2011. The following activists and volunteers of non-governmental organizations in St. Petersburg and Leningrad region joined together for an unprecedented event associated with the World AIDS Day under the slogan “Know and Live”:
E.V.A. Non-Profit Partnership to increase the quality of life for women living with and affected by HIV-infection and other socially significant diseases, MadStyleGroup Creative Holding, MadMedia Communication Project, Dance4life Social Project, International Treatment Preparedness Coalition in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ITPCru), Svecha Organization of People living with HIV, “Positive Dialogue” community of people living with HIV/AIDS, “Red Ribbon” Foundation and Salvation Army volunteers.
I just learned that the camera battery ran out before we got to me, and since my notes (see photo) are illegible even to me, I thought I'd try to recreate at least the gist of the speech so that the ideas can keep being used.
So here goes:
"I'm going to keep this short. As the med students here know, events in this room always end the same way: with homework. And that's my job for tonight. I've got homework for all of you, but most of my homework is for you, Ms. Feiler, so I hope you're taking notes.
We've heard from the politicians here tonight, and one thing that we've heard is that they can't do this alone. We need to step up and create the change we want to see. We need to push them. Well, that's what we're doing right now. Consider yourselves pushed. We need politicians to step up now, like Representative McDermott did with Representatives Pelosi and Schumer when they started HOPWA as freshmen in Congress.
First, we are doing a direct action workshop at noon.
ACT UP Philadelphia has been using direct action to win major victories for people with HIV since 1988. Come learn one model of direct action organizing that has worked to build a movement that is lead by low-income people, people of color, queer people, and people with HIV. Jose de Marco and Kaytee Riek will talk about how we plan and execute smart actions that get to the people in power and get covered accurately by the media, and how we interact with the cops throughout the action.
Sunday, November 6th at Noon at **NEW LOCATION** Thomas Paine Plaza/Municipal Services Building - Broad and JFK, where the game pieces are, across from City Hall.
After the presentation, there will be a discussion of other models of direct action organizing that you have seen work in other contexts, and we'll come up with a quick, effective and strategic direct action that everyone can take.Second, ACT UP will have a speaker as a part of a discussion called "You can have your playground when you/we fix our city!", from 4-6pm at the GA area.
Occupy Philly sits in the way of a $50 million development that will turn Dilworth Plaza, currently public space where homeless people live and share free food, into a privatized ice-skating rink and cafe: a playground for tourists and those with cash. We'd rather use that $50 million for homes, lasting jobs, education, health care, gardens, and other community-controlled efforts to rebuild our city.
** What would YOU do to fix our city with $50 million? **
The city has hinted that renovations may start around November 15, meaning that Occupy Philly and the many people living there will have to leave. We would like to take this moment of tension as an opportunity to highlight the unjust allocation of resources in Philadelphia and the hard work that organizers have already been doing to rebuild our communities. How to respond to the city's demand that we make way for this "playground for the rich" is an ongoing debate in which we welcome your voice.So come out Sunday and join us!
Occupy Philly's new and dynamic energy has inspired us to try out an interactive discussion workshop style!
We have been doing a lot of awesome and badass work surrounding our housing campaign, but in order to continue the fight, we really REALLY need your support. So come for good company, food, drinks, singing, dancing, you name it! Great vegan and non-alcoholic options are available!
Where: Adobe Cafe 1919 E. Passyunk Ave 19148 in South Philadelphia
When: October 1st, 7:30- 12:30
*20% of all drink proceeds will go to ACT UP between 8:00 and 10:30 so get there early, we’ll be there! Plus, we'll be belting out tunes sung in embarrassing ways. Come sing, so people don't have to listen to us :)
Spread the word on Facebook!
On it, you can:
- sign up to get email updates
- read our latest news
- find out how to get in touch with us
- get meeting location details
- read our report on the housing crisis
- buy spiffy new tshirts (!)
- and make a donation to our work
In fact, if you could make a donation to support our work right now, that would be fantastic. We are planning a big Fall push to get money in the budget for AIDS housing next time, but we need the resources to do it.
So, head to actupphilly.organd click "donate". Or just click around and see what we're up to.
Got comments on the site (you love it! you found a broken link. it looks weird on your computer)? Send 'em to us at actupphilly at gmail dot com. We can't promise we'll make changes, but the feedback will help us to continue to improve it.
Thanks for your continued support!
AP via Washington Post - "Once inside, Obama was interrupted by at least two activists holding up paper signs calling for more AIDs drugs for victims of the disease. “Obama: AIDs drugs 4 6 million people worldwide. WeCanEndAIDS.org.” Obama watched impassively as other supporters drowned the activists out and snatched the signs from their hands. Obama has encountered AIDs protesters before, including a fundraiser in Miami earlier this month."
CNN - "But the crowd wasn't entirely supportive. At one point, the president was interrupted by a small gathering of protesters, critical of the president over the issue of AIDS."
ABC News - "His speech was punctuated twice by hecklers, including some AIDS activists who have now made it a practice to interrupt Obama’s campaign events."
Philly Inquirer -
Philly Inquirer Photos (flip over to photo 11 and 29)
City Paper - "AIDS activists ACT UP Philly will be rallying against Obama, who is coming to Philly to fundraise, due to anticipated cuts in HIV/AIDS funding. (The group will also be protesting against Mayor Michael Nutter — who is expected to join Obama at a fundraiser at the Hyatt at the Bellevue — to demand funding for housing for people with AIDS.)"
Finally, some photos from the protest, by ACT UP member Kaytee Riek.
Call for Artistic Submissions: a New Shirt Design for ACT UP Philadelphia!
Deadline May 20th, 2011
Want your art memorialized in newspapers and in photo art exhibits while splayed across the chests of fierce AIDS Activists? Does it make you excited to have your name join the likes of Keith Haring as a t-shirt designer for the coolest activists who’ve worked to save thousands of lives?
What better way to go down in history than as the person that designed the active wear of an activist?
Media, bloggers, and others are welcome to use any photos, as long as they are credited to "Kaytee Riek, ACT UP Philadelphia". Email us if you'd like a full resolution version!
WHAT: Time’s Up, Nutter!: Fund Homes not Graves for People with HIV/AIDS
WHEN: Thursday, February 24th @ 10:30am WHERE: at the Love Park sign at 15th and JFK St.
Some of our favorite parts:
"ACT UP isn't just another advocacy group: They are the A-Team of AIDS activism, a band of crack commandos always ready to parachute in, their rhetorical guns blazing. Fail to listen and suffer the consequences: They've been known to swarm the mayor's home to demand housing for people with AIDS, take over the Capitol Rotunda to press Congress to lift a federal ban on funding syringe exchanges, and shut down the Food and Drug Administration in protest of slow approval times for AIDS drugs."
Note: Draft agenda at https://asoft130.securesites.net/secure/causda/clientuploads/design/Pepfar/SmartInvestments/DRAFT_Agenda-PEPFAR_Smart_Investments_Meeting.pdf
"So if we have two cohorts of mice, one given a placebo, those mice never clear the infection and it really overwhelms the immune system and the immune system succumbs to the disease.
"Whereas in the mice that are treated with interleukin-7 for three weeks we can actually effect the cure such that the virus is actually eliminated from their blood and from most of their, or indeed all of their organs like the lung and the brain which are sort of reservoirs for that particular virus in the mice.
"SIMON LAUDER: Does it follow that the same therapy could be used to clear HIV in humans?
"MARC PELLEGRINI: It would certainly follow that the same therapy could be used to boost immunity in HIV and either better control or perhaps even cure HIV in the long term."
Note: Technical abstract at http://www.cell.com/abstract/S0092-8674(11)00012-2.
Today, the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power in Philadelphia (ACT UP Philadelphia) is standing in solidarity with Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) and concerned civil society in Uganda and around the world in condemning the brutal murder of gay rights activist David Kato in his home on Wednesday, the 26th of January 2011. ACT UP Philadelphia sent letters to President Yoweri Museveni, Inspector General of Police Major Kale Kayihura, and Minister of Justice Hon. Makubuya Kiddu demanding the Government of Uganda and Police fully investigate David’s murder and confront current homophobia.
We wish you a merry Xmas:
We wish you would fund AIDS housing
We wish you would fund AIDS housing
We wish you would fund AIDS housing
So we won't get sick.
It’s getting so very cold (3x)
So fund housing quick.
We won’t leave until there’s housing (3x)
who cares 'bout politics!
(repeat all, then...)
We wish you would fund AIDS housing (3x)
So we won’t get sick
We wish you would fund AIDS housing (3x)
So we can go home
At least 19 states have taken such steps as capping enrollment, dropping patients, instituting waiting lists, lowering the income ceiling for eligibility, and no longer covering certain drugs or tests.
Join ACT UP Philadelphia in our on-going campaign to demand housing for all people with HIV, as we go Christmas Caroling at Mayor Nutter's House!
Wednesday, December 22nd @ 5pm
Meet in the McDonald’s parking lot at Golf & City Ave to walk to his house together
Free rides from LAVA - 4134 Lancaster - leaving at 4:45pm.
RSVP encouraged to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carlos Gonzalez was close to death when he arrived at Temple University Hospital in 2003. His case of AIDS was so advanced that his frail body was overrun by thrush, meningitis, and pneumonia. It had become painful for him to swallow and digest food and his weight had dropped to only 117 pounds. His desperate prognosis was made worse by the fact that he had no home. Recently released from prison, Carlos lived in a drug treatment recovery house in North Philadelphia. In a room he shared with 10 other men, Carlos was exposed to airborne infections that sent him to the hospital coughing uncontrollably almost every month.
"[P]rogress in many African nations depends on the realistic hope of new patients gaining access to treatment. Why get tested if AIDS drugs are restricted to current patients? On AIDS, to stand still is to lose ground."
As strange as it feels, I can't help but agree with the former President. What a fitting comment for this World AIDS Day, three years after President Obama made a commitment to dramatically increase spending on global AIDS. Instead, funding has virtually flat-lined for two years in a row. The result on the ground is that people are being turned away from clinics without life-saving medicine. New research on prevention is stalling because of a lack of funding. And the doctors and nurses needed to implement the programs are not getting trained, because the money isn't there to train them.
So today, people from around the US are coming together to call for increased funding for AIDS, which the President and Congress promised to do. Will you join them? Directions are below.
President Obama will finalize his budget by December 15th so time is of the essence.
To make a difference:
- On December 1st, call the White House Comment Line at (202)456-1111
- Follow the automated instructions
- Say: “Hi, my name is ________. I’m from ______. I’m disappointed with how the administration has dealt with the AIDS Pandemic so far. I’m calling to ask President Obama to live up to his promise of contributing $50 billion by 2013 for the fight against AIDS. Thank you very much."
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
NEW HAVEN — David Carel was never a rabble-rouser. But amid the clutter of his dorm room at Yale University, Mr. Carel, baby-faced and slight-shouldered at 19, keeps evidence of his new life as an AIDS activist: posters, banners and the flier demanding “$50 bn for Global AIDS” that he concealed in his fleece jacket one Saturday in late October when, heart pounding, he sneaked past security into a Democratic campaign rally in Bridgeport.
He used the flier to do something he “never would have imagined”: heckle the president of the United States.
"In the study, published Tuesday by the New England Journal of Medicine [full text], researchers found that the hundreds of gay men randomly assigned to take the drugs were 44 percent less likely to get infected than the equal number assigned to take a placebo.
"But when only the men whose blood tests showed they had taken their pill faithfully every day were considered, the pill was more than 90 percent effective, said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, head of the division of the National Institutes of Health, which paid for the study along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
"'That’s huge,' Dr. Fauci said. 'That says it all for me.'
"The large study, nicknamed iPrEx, included nearly 2,500 men in six countries and was coordinated by the Gladstone Institutes of the University of California, San Francisco.
"The results are the best news in the AIDS field in years, even better than this summer’s revelation that a vaginal microbicide protected 39 percent of all the women testing it and 54 percent of those who used it faithfully.
"Also, the antiretroviral pill — Truvada, a combination of two drugs, tenofovir and emtricitabine — is available by prescription in many countries right now, while the microbicide gel is made only in small amounts for clinical trials. ...
"Because Truvada is available now, some clinicians already prescribe it for prophylaxis, Dr. Fauci said, but whether doing so becomes official policy will depend on discussions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, medical societies and others, which could take months."
Comment, JSJ: Of course this should be prescribed -- at least for men who need it and want it to reduce their risk of getting infected with HIV.
…OR WILL YOU FIGHT LIKE HELL FOR THE LIVING, TOO?
Join ACT UP and our allies in DC on World AIDS Day (December 1st) as we call on President obama to keep the promise he made to ensure everyone with HIV has access to treatment.
Wednesday, December 1st
Free buses leave from Broad & Walnut at 7:30am.
Lunch will be provided, and tokens will be available for those who need them.
RSVP not required, but encouraged, to email@example.com or 215-386-1981
More info: actupphilly.org
PLEASE WEAR BLACK!
Why? There are over 4,000 people with HIV in the US who are forced onto waiting lists for AIDS drugs. Countless others can’t even get on the waiting list, because the are too “rich” or because their insurance companies are denying them care. Around the world, 10 million people were promised medication, but they do not have access. All of these people will die unless President Obama keeps his promise to fund AIDS treatment at home and abroad.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | 11/10/10
"There are dirty legal tricks being used," says Dr. Tido von Schoenangerer, who runs the MSF campaign for essential medicines. "Any person living with HIV in the developing world is facing a future scenario in which the medicines they need will be under threat."
"Meanwhile the World Health Organisation, the UN's public health body, has echoed MSF's concerns, saying that if the trade deal does indeed include clauses governing the production of cheap generic medicines, the ramifications for the public health could be serious.
"The issue hinges on a so-called 'data exclusivity' provision in the free trade agreement, which campaigners say would effectively copyright information gathered in the clinical trials that prove the effectiveness and safety of medicines.
"At present, generic manufacturers rely on the results of the original clinical trials carried out by the drug developer to get their cheap version registered. If this information were to become exclusive, Indian companies would be left without the data they need to register their drugs.
"It means companies will have to repeat the trials, which not only would be very costly, but raises ethical issues because it is basically doing research to find out something that is already known," says von Schoenangerer. ...
"The department of essential medicines of WHO has never been given a copy of the draft of the free trade agreement..."
Changing the world takes brilliant, clear thinkers. It takes commitment. And it takes the ability to *mobilize* other people to change the world with you.
For decades, ACT UP Philadelphia has been mobilizing people living with AIDS to take to the streets. They have organized countless marches and protests and rallies and their actions have saved countless numbers of lives. And they have won. They have successfully pressured the US Government to create PEPFAR; their demonstrations led DIRECTLY to all 2008 Democratic Presidential candidates committing to funding the fight against global AIDS at $50 billion over 5 years (an increase from President Bush's thirty billion). They are the grassroots of the Global AIDS Movement but they are also an incredibly inspiring organization. Completely volunteer run, meeting weekly for decades with no money, constantly recruiting new members, constantly changing with the times, always run by low-income people of color living with AIDS. I would hold up the ACT UP PHILLY ratio of resources to results ... against any big, full-of-itself organization, anywhere in the world. If Congress worked as efficiently and with as much commitment as ACT UP Philly, AIDS would be cured, cars would run on air, and corporations would actually pay taxes.
I was an ACT UP Philly gadfly in my activist days, and I never learned more anywhere else, about the activist math of combining desperation with commitment with leverage with integrity with chutzpah with humility... for results.
We owe them a lot more than this award -- but this award is something they richly deserve. On behalf of Health Gap, I'm proud to present the first-ever Dr. Alan Berkman Global Health Justice Award -- to ACT UP Philadelphia.
The award was presented to us by Rachel Maddow, TV show host extraordinaire and former ACT UP Philly "gadfly" (her words!).
"For example, when it came to foot examinations -- a key part of diabetes surveillance -- the check was done less than 20% of the time at a Toronto immunodeficiency clinic and an American HIV clinic; about 35% of the time at an American primary care clinic; about 65% of the time at an American endocrinology clinic, and about 90% of the time at the Canadian endocrinology clinic."
Join us Monday, September 20th, and 2pm at the corner of Broad St. and Arch St.
The article referred to two situations in which employees were forced to work in the PHA projects, suggesting that the conditions in the projects were unacceptable for employees. But if the conditions are so bad for the employees who only work there eight hours a day, then what about the people, especially people with AIDS, who actually live there?
Carl Greene's failure is part of a larger failure in Philadelphia: we turn a blind eye to the conditions in our public housing, our shelters, and our streets. Mayor Nutter presides over an expanding waitlist for homes for people with AIDS, a crumbling public housing infrastructure, and an inept housing authority. It is time he step up and start solving the housing crisis in Philadelphia.
ACT UP Philly