ACTION ALERT: Join AMSA at protest for AIDS funding in NYC!

Farheen Qurashi, AMSA’s Jack Rutledge Legislative Director 2009-2010, and Mary Carol Jennings, AIDS Advocacy Network Chair 2009-2010, contributed to this post.  To join this event in NYC on May 13th, please contact Farheen at jrld@amsa.org.

On the campaign trail, President Obama pledged “to provide at least $50 billion by 2013 for the global fight against HIV/AIDS, including our fair share of the Global Fund, in order to at least double the number of HIV-positive people on treatment and continue to provide treatments to one-third of all those who desperately need them.”  HIV/AIDS patients and their advocates, including AMSA members, were important in getting then-candidates Obama, Clinton, and Biden to commit to these figures.

However, since taking office, the Obama Administration’s budgets have flatlined funding for AIDS programs.  Our commitments to fighting AIDS have not even kept pace with inflation: PEPFAR funding increased by only 2%  in 2010, while annual  inflation in most African countries is 7%.  Now, clinics around the world are reporting turning away patients with clinical AIDS who would previously have been treated, due to funding cuts (ITPC, 2010).

On May 13th, AMSA will be gathering for a white-coat protest at a Democratic Party fundraiser at St. Regis Hotel in NYC, to remind President Obama of his promises.  We will be joining activists from ACT UP, Africa Action, African Services Committee, NYC AIDS Housing Network, VOCAL-NY Users Union, Housing Works, Health GAP, Philadelphia Global AIDS Watchdogs, and other allies.  Join us, and let the President know that extending AIDS funding to meet the global need is important to you!  Please contact Mary Carol Jennings (marycaroljennings@gmail.com) for more details.

UPDATED: [05.11.2010] More information and disclaimer after cut.

If you are coming from Philadelphia or Washington D.C., Health GAP is providing free buses. Contact Kaytee Riek, Health GAP’s Director of Organizing, at kaytee@healthgap.org.

Read more about the AIDS funding shortfall at the New York Times: Cutting AIDS Funds Risks “Death Sentence” (Apr. 26, 2010):

The International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) found patients are being turned away from treatment programs and AIDS drug stocks are running out because of government budget cuts and flatlined funding from major donors like the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

“Governments, North and South, cannot afford to put the clock back and return us to the days when HIV was a death sentence,” said Aditi Sharma, coordinator of the report.

The report said the Global Fund would need $20 billion over the next three years to help meet health-related U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but said G8 nations and other donors were warning that raising $13 billion is a stretch. It also highlighted funding pledges that had never properly been met or were being cut because of the global downturn.

DISCLAIMER: Your safety and comfort are our top priorities. AMSA does not condone, endorse, or support any activity which could put you at risk or make you uncomfortable. AMSA is not asking, encouraging, or requiring you, its members, and/or its leaders to participate in any activities that would put you at risk or make you uncomfortable.

[Updated 05.11.2010]

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