We can end AIDS -- by bus!

We have big news -- it is finally actually possible to end the AIDS epidemic once and for all.

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 to RSVP for your seat on the free bus.

ACT UP Philly at the IAC w/ sneak peek of our abstract poster...

Does the AIDS movement still need ACT UP...?? 
HELL YEA IT DOES!! To learn why, take a sneak peek below of our abstract poster that will be presented at the International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, July 24th. The poster tells the history of ACT UP Philly: how we have survived and thrived, how we are still kicking ass to change the world, and serves as a potent reminder that we are still united in anger and committed to direct action until the end of the AIDS crisis. 

Don't miss out, get on the bus to D.C.
The poster is not the only presence that ACT UP Philly will have at the IAC. As fabulous as the poster is, by far the most exciting thing ACT UP Philly will be doing is helping organize the We Can End AIDS march on July 24th (the same day as our poster presentation). This will be a historic march for AIDS activism and you don't want to miss it! ACT UP Philly is bringing ten buses (yes, 10!) of people down to D.C. to participate in this historic march. The trip is free and will include a visit to the Global Village at the IAC. 

All you have to do is sign up to save a seat on the bus. So what are you waiting for? Go here to sign up to save a seat on one of the buses from Philly (if link does not work, cut and paste the following address:, or you can call 215-981-3309.

For more info about the march go to

Video of our banner drop

Here is our banner. It was arrested by Homeland Security. We'll miss it, but we are glad our friends are safe.

AIDS activists protesting Obama detained by Homeland Security

For Immediate Release, June 12, 2012

Press contact: Jose DeMarco [267-333-0032]
Kaytee Riek [267-334-6984]

AIDS Activists Greet President Obama’s Address to Science Leadership Academy Graduates 

2 activists detained by Homeland Security after dropping giant banner that reads "Obama: Homes not Graves for People with AIDS. Tax Wall Street; Treat the People."

**Photos Available**

Philadelphia – President Obama was in Philadelphia today to meet with graduating seniors from the Science Leadership Academy charter school. AIDS activists from the group ACT UP Philadelphia dropped a giant banner from a parking garage near the event with their own message for the president and the future science leaders of America: “Obama: Homes not Graves for People with AIDS. Tax Wall Street; Treat the People.” The banner also had the url The activists are currently being detained by Homeland Security.

“Science leadership is the key to ending HIV and AIDS. We have the science. What we need now is presidential leadership,” said ACT UP member Kwame-Jamal Asante, describing why the group chose to drop their banner at the president’s address to the Science Leadership Academy graduates.

ACT UP member Melvin White added, “The International AIDS Conference will be here in the US next month and we are expecting President Obama to pledge to be the leader who ends AIDS.” White adds, “President Obama, you have made great strides for equality on so many fronts and made great promises mostly kept, with the exception of doing more to combat HIV/AIDS. We are in desperate need for you to keep pressure on Congress to address these issues.”  

The group, which has been engaged in a 3-year long campaign for more AIDS housing in Philadelphia, is calling for the president to increase funding for Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS. President Obama was the first president in the history of the federal AIDS housing program to recommend cutting its funding. ACT UP member Evelyn Nicholson, who is one of the many Philadelphians excluded from even having a slot on the city’s HOPWA waiting list of over 200 people due to local restrictions placed on the funding, wants the president to know, “we need more money for housing so Philadelphia can open more slots and make housing more accessible. People with AIDS need a safe to take their medicines and we need healthy places to rest.”

ACT UP’s banner also reflects the growing international call for a “Robin Hood Tax,” a less than 0.5% tax on financial transactions such as stock, bond, and dividend trades. Advocates of the tax estimate that it could generate up to $350 billion annually in revenue. The money would be used to support health and green job creation, including funding AIDS treatment programs at home and abroad.

“There’ve been amazing scientific breakthroughs on AIDS in the four years these students have been at SLA. We learned that treatment can drastically cut the spread of AIDS. We learned that providing housing is necessary to treat and prevent AIDS, and we’re closer than ever to a vaccine and a cure,” added ACT UP member Jose DeMarco. “The science is there; what we need is leadership – the leadership to tax Wall Street for the money to end AIDS.”

Photos of the banner can be obtained at


This photo is available for free media use.

Sing for ACT UP - Saturday Apr 28th!

Karaoke fundraiser for ACT UP Philly

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!

Congress banned funding of syringe exchange... again!

For over 20 years our government has refused to fund proven life saving, health improving, health resource tools: Sterile syringes. After 20 years of preventable infections and deaths the 
federal ban on Needle Exchange was lifted two years ago after AIDS activists shut down the Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C. President Obama signed it into law the Support Federal Funding For Needle Exchange.

Now, the new Republican Congress has once again banned funding of Syringe Exchange.


...has saved lives for over 20 years.
...prevents HIV infection.
...prevents hepatitis C infections.
...has prevented HIV infections for over 20 years in injection drug users.
...has prevented hepatitis C for over 20 years in injection drug users.
...has been proven scientifically to lower Hepatitis C and HIV infections for over 20 years in injection drug users.

DEMONSTRATE Wednesday, March 21, 2012
12 p.m.
16th and JFK

More info: Jose de Marco 267.333.3609 |

Ask Senator Pat Toomey why he wants people to contract HIV and Hepatitis C.

Free buses leave 2nd and Lehigh Avenue on Wednesday March 21 at 
11 A.M sharp.

HuffPost: HIV/AIDS Activists Complain Of Unfair Treatment By U.S. Attorney's Office

By Arin Greenwood
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."

It Could be a Wonderful Life for People with AIDS in 2012

**please forward widely, post to facebook, etc**
Check out this fun “Wonderful Life” video ACT UP Philly just made, and please forward/post widely.

Since our housing campaign started, it has become a tradition for ACT UP to send our “holiday cheer” to Mayor Nutter around the holidays. In the past years this “cheer” has included bringing an army of Salvation Army style bell-ringers to city hall, and singing personalized carols outside of Nutter’s home.

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

PS - We're a group of a bunch of volunteers taking on the big city, full of Mr. Potter's. Next year, we have big plans for continuing to raise the stakes on the City and win housing for people with HIV. But without your help, we won't be able to do it. If you are the kind of person who makes donations at the end of the year (and even if you're not!), then please consider donating to ACT UP. As Rachel Maddow once said, there's no group where you get a better bang for your buck than ACT UP Philly! Click here to donate now.

Russia: ITPC World AIDS Day Events

December 1, 2011
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.

Housing is Healthcare Panel

Tonight I had the honor to be on a panel with ACT UP member and peer educator Cliff Williams, Chief of Staff of the Philly Dept. of Health Nan Feiler, and Representative Jim McDermott (D-Wa.) It was neat to convene all of these people to talk about federal and local solutions to the AIDS housing crisis in Philadelphia.

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.

Sunday 11/8: ACT UP @ Occupy Philly TWICE!

ACT UP's going to be at Occupy Philly TWICE on Sunday.

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.
Occupy Philly's new and dynamic energy has inspired us to try out an interactive discussion workshop style!
So come out Sunday and join us!

Karaoke + $$ for ACT UP = an awesome Saturday

Summer is over, but there is always time to party! Please join us next Saturday, October 1st for a night at Adobe Café where we will be raising funds for the one and only ACT UP Philadelphia.

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!

ACT UP's got a brand new website

We have a new website! It's stylish and activist-y, and the best place to go to learn about what we're up to.
On it, you can:

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!

Obama/Nutter: We insist, end the waiting lists!

Our action outside (and inside!) Obama's fundraiser got a lot of attention from the media. Besides a rowdy march from City Hall to the Bellevue (where Obama was fundraising), ACT UP Philadelphia had five people inside disrupting the President's speech. Why? Because Obama promised us that he would insure universal access to AIDS treatment. But he hasn't kept his promise - 8,000 are on waiting lists in the US, and another 9-10 million desperately need but cannot get life-saving treatment around the world. We can end AIDS, if Obama keeps his promise!

We also called attention to our Mayor's failure to address the growing crisis of housing for people with HIV. It's shameful that people with AIDS are warehoused in shelters or left to die on the streets, rather than get housing that can save their lives and reduce HIV rates in the city as a whole.

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.” 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)

Metro Philly

PoliticsPA - "The event was interrupted briefly by a handful of demonstrators from ACT UP Philadelphia, a group dedicated to fighting AIDS. “President Obama! We love you! But please keep your promise to spend $15 billion fighting AIDS,” one man yelled."

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.

June 30th Action: WTF (Where's the Funding)?!?


Join us Thurs. June 30 at 3 PM at the SE corner of City Hall 

No housing $ for people w/AIDS in the budget? And broken promises on funding for AIDS treatment at home and abroad from the President?

Where’s The Funding, Nutter & Obama?!


Mayor Nutter’s proposed 2012 budget contains no money for housing for people with HIV—but it does include an 11% increase in funding for jails. 

On June 30, City Council will most likely approve Nutter’s disastrous budget. Hundreds of people with AIDS are on a waiting list for AIDS housing. Hundreds more are in need. The Mayor is refusing to take action. 

President Obama has to power to help end the global AIDS pandemic—by increasing investments now in prevention and treatment, landmark new data show that 7 million deaths and 12 million new HIV infections can be prevented. But the Administration is preparing for cuts in 2012—not the increases needed.   

On June 30, Obama will be at the Bellevue Hotel at Broad and Walnut for a fundraiser with his Philadelphia donors. Mayor Nutter will join him. 

At the Bellevue June 30, Obama & Nutter will be fundraising for reelection.  
We will be there to let them know there will be no reelection w/out funding to keep people with AIDS in philly and abroad alive. Will you be there?


Design the next great ACT UP t-shirt!

**Please forward widely and share w/ artist-activists everywhere**

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?

Help us look fierce and hot. The ideal t-shirt design will relate to our campaigns. We are not looking for a generic “AIDS awareness” t-shirt. We want to find the next great “Silence=Death” political shirt (google it if you’re unfamiliar).

Some recent issues that we have worked on are listed below. What you chose as a theme is up to you and not restricted to the list, naturally:
- Fighting for the right to housing for all people with HIV and AIDS
- Demanding access to condoms in Philly prisons and for high school students
- Tearing down the barriers to access to medication for people in the US and worldwide

Potential Questions you might have:

How do I submit? The deadline is May 20th at midnight ET. All t-shirt designs must be emailed to by then to be accepted. We cannot accept anything that comes after midnight ET on May 20th. Please include the name you would like to be called, and a way to reach you (phone, email, twitter account… whatever is the best way to tell you if you’ve won!).

What are the design specifications? Art should be designed in Adobe Illustrator or another vector design program, and sent in vectored EPS and PDF formats. It should be one color. You can suggest the t-shirt color and screen-printing color we should use.

What is the decision process? ACT UP members will convene on May 23rd to decide on our one or two favorite designs. Winners will be announced on May 24th, and t-shirts will be printed by mid-June. 

What does the winning artist(s) get? Glory! The love of activists everywhere! A free t-shirt! But no money, sadly. 

What if I have more questions? Contact and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Fine Print: The T-Shirt Design Competition is open to anyone worldwide who has an idea of what our shirts should say. All t-shirt designs will become property of ACT UP Philadelphia. We don’t copyright, so your design cannot be copyrighted. Because we are an awesome activist group that doesn’t take money from the government or drug companies (read: our budget is super small!), there is no monetary compensation to the winners. 

Photos from the disruption of Nutter's budget speech

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!


PHILADELPHIA – As Mayor Nutter presented his 2012 budget to City Council, members of ACT UP Philadelphia disrupted his speech to demand that he fund homes for people with AIDS in Philadelphia. “People with AIDS are dying for homes,” said ACT UP member Jose de Marco, one of the approximately twenty people who disrupted the Mayor’s speech. “The Mayor told us directly that he lives in a political world and can’t do anything to save sick people’s lives. We’re here to make this problem a political problem for the Mayor, since he’s refused to act out of moral imperative.”

Homes, not Graves, for People with AIDS

PHILADELPHIA – On March 3rd, Mayor Michael Nutter will release his budget proposal for next year. On Thursday, February 24th ACT UP Philadelphia (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) will preemptively hold a demonstration at City Hall to remind him that, “time’s up, wake up: include money in the city budget for housing for people with HIV/AIDS.”

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.

Tell Nutter Time's Up!

City budget is about due-
You gonna leave people with AIDS in the gutter?

Join with ACT UP to wake up the Mayor

There are people with AIDS living on the street in our city, & until the city funds housing, people are going to continue to get sick & die.

We Meet at LOVE Park@10am, then go to City Hall to set off our alarms

Bring your Alarm clock, fog horn, rooster or preferred noisemaker.

Sangamo's Bet Against AIDS: Gene Therapy

BusinessWeek: "Timothy Brown may be the only person cured of AIDS. Brown, who lives in San Francisco, in 2007 received a stem-cell transplant in Berlin that transferred genetic material to him from one of the up to 2 percent of humans with a natural immunity to the disease. He has been off treatment since then, and no traces of the AIDS virus have been found in his body, says his hematologist, Gero Hütter, now with the German Red Cross in Mannheim. His case has encouraged tiny Sangamo BioSciences (SGMO) to develop a new form of gene therapy that could offer others the same result."

We're "Warriors"

ACT UP Philadelphia members have been dubbed "Warriors" in the cover story of this week's City Paper. Go pick it up! Or read it online.

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."

PEPFAR’s Smart Investments to Save More Lives: Efficiencies, Innovation, Impact

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE: "On Thursday, February 10, 2011, PEPFAR will hold a one-day forum entitled “PEPFAR’s Smart Investments to Save More Lives: Efficiencies, Innovation, Impact.” The meeting will spotlight PEPFAR’s work to gain greater impact and efficiency through smart investments in programs working to save lives from HIV/AIDS. The discussion will build upon PEPFAR’s ongoing efforts to maximize the impact of every dollar spent."

Note: Draft agenda at

Mouse hormone trial raises hopes for HIV cure

ABC Australia: "MARC PELLEGRINI: If we treat those mice with interleukin therapy we can actually clear this virus which is really quite overwhelming in the mice and is never cleared.

"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

ACT UP Philadelphia Mourns Ugandan Gay Rights Activist David Kato’s Death

We Demand the Ugandan Government Conduct Full Investigation and Confront Homophobia

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.

Photos from Caroling

The lyrics to our Xmas Carols!

(more songs after the break)

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

AP: Thousands on HIV drugs desperate amid budget woes

Cash-strapped states are cutting back on a program that provides free medicine to people with HIV, leaving thousands of patients to wonder where their drugs will come from and stirring fears of a return to the days when an AIDS diagnosis meant certain death.

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.

Christmas Carol @ the Mayor's house!

Nutter the Mayor is a real smart guy they say
So we don’t know why hundreds could die
while they wait for a home some day

There are 8000 people with AIDS or HIV
Who need a home to stay alive
and be real healthy

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

Inky Coverage of Housing Campaign

Thanks to Penn Patient Allies for their work to get this published. Please go sign the consensus statement at

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.

World AIDS Day Photos

Take Action on World AIDS Day!

Today is World AIDS Day. In the Washington Post today, former President Bush said:

"[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:
  1. On December 1st, call the White House Comment Line at (202)456-1111
  2. Follow the automated instructions
  3. 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."

NY Times covers resurgence of student AIDS activism

A New Breed of AIDS Activists Dogs Obama

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.

AIDS Risk Greatly Lowered by Daily Pill, Study Finds "In a development that could change the battle against AIDS, researchers have found that taking a daily antiretroviral pill greatly lowers the chances of getting infected with the fatal virus.

"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.

Free buses to DC for World AIDS Day



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 or 215-386-1981
More info:


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.

ACT UP demands homes, not excuses!




Philadelphia – Members of AIDS activist groups ACT UP Philadelphia and Proyecto Sol, along with graduate students in the University of Pennsylvania’s Urban Studies Program and medical school, met with Mayor Michael Nutter on Monday. The students and activists shared the results of a research and planning process and asked the mayor to commit to spending two to four million dollars to create permanent housing to end the two-year long waiting list for housing for people with AIDS in Philadelphia.

Photos from ACT UP's meeting w/ Mayor Nutter

Will we see you tomorrow, noon on the east side of City Hall? Mayor Nutter said he couldn't commit to funding housing for people with AIDS. We need to show him the consequences of not acting!

EU deal threatens HIV drug supplies

Al Jazeera English: "The charity Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF) says that hidden clauses in the free trade agreeement (FTA) currently being negotiated between Europe and India will prevent the manufacture and distribution of crucial generic medicines produced in the country.

"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..."

UPDATE: Why Rachel Maddow loves ACT UP Philly (and why you should too)

Remember a couple weeks ago when ACT UP received a Dr. Alan Berkman Global Health Justice Award? And we said we would try to get a copy of Rachel Maddow's remarks. Well, we got 'em! Here's what she had to say...

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.

Nov 10th @ Noon: Join ACT UP to memorialize people with AIDS who've died on the streets

Take Action!
11/10/10 @ Noon
City Hall East Side
Demand housing for all people with HIV

Read more about our housing campaign here.

ACT UP receives Dr. Alan Berkman Award

ACT UP received the Dr. Alan Berkman Global Health Justice Award from Health GAP on Saturday, October 23rd. Dr. Berkman was a radical physician and activist who spent his whole life advancing justice for people around the world.

The award was presented to us by Rachel Maddow, TV show host extraordinaire and former ACT UP Philly "gadfly" (her words!).

Left to right: ACT UP members Sam Sitrin, Max Ray, Asia Russell
Hannah Zellman, Kaytee Riek, Jose De Marco, Rachel Maddow 
and Tiffany Thompson.

We are trying to get a copy of her speech. She said such nice things about us!

Diabetes Care Misses Mark in HIV Patients - in Meeting Coverage

IDSA from MedPage Today: "In scrutinizing how well different types of doctors did in providing routine care, researchers found that only doctors at a Canadian endocrinology clinic came anywhere near meeting treatment benchmarks.

"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."

Flu shot linked to reduced heart attack risk

Reuters: "Middle-aged and older adults who get the flu vaccine may be less likely to suffer a first-time heart attack in the following year than those who skip the shot, according to a study published Monday."

Tell President Obama that Waiting Lists Won't End AIDS: Access to Treatment Will!

President Obama will be in town tomorrow (Monday, October 20th) and ACT UP Philly will be lining the streets outside the convention center to help him see the impact of not keeping his AIDS promises: growing waiting lists for housing in Philly, for medicine in the US and around the world.

Join us Monday, September 20th, and 2pm at the corner of Broad St. and Arch St.

Max :: English - Many HIV-positive gay men have post-traumatic stress disorder :: English - Many HIV-positive gay men have post-traumatic stress disorder: "A third of HIV-positive gay men have post-traumatic stress disorder, UK investigators report in AIDS Patient Care and STDs. Events including starting treatment, HIV-related illness, and witnessing an HIV-related death were all linked to the development of symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. Emotional responses to such events - rather than actual physical threat - were associated with the development of symptoms of posttraumatic stress."

Letter to the Editor submitted today

Did you see this article about Philadelphia Housing Authority director Carl Greene? ACT UP Philly did, and we were pissed. Check out the letter to the editor we submitted to the Inquirer today:

Dear Editor,

Last night, the Inquirer's article, "At PHA: Humiliation, groping, banishment," was passed around ACT UP Philadelphia's meeting. Members include people currently living in PHA housing, people on PHA waitlists, and people currently homeless. Everyone in the group was outraged at the story. But our outrage was not directed at Carl Greene's failures. Our outrage was directed at the assumption, perpetuated in the article, that public housing projects can only be dangerous, dirty places to live.

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

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