NEW YORK - November 7 - As FDA Prepares to Concede to Radical Right with New, Misleading Condom Label, Scores of People with HIV and Youth to be Arrested at White House in Makeshift Graveyard
Traveling to the capital from 21 states, they will create graphic memorial to those who will lose their lives due to lack of condoms, sterile needles & HIV-prevention education.
11:30 am: McPherson Square, 15th and I Streets, NW
12 noon: Concerned Women for America, 1015 15th St. NW
12:30 pm: Lafayette Park/White House: 50 to be arrested
Hundreds of people from across the country will march on November 7 at 11:30 am, behind a giant Bush puppet whose strings are pulled by representatives of powerful fundamentalist right-wing organizations, delivering "
golden funeral urn awards" to HIV prevention foes. The march will trace the path of influence from radical right groups that have shaped Bush Administration policies on sex education, needle exchange, and global AIDS, placing ideology and Christian fundamentalism over sound public health. They will conclude with 50 arrests at a makeshift graveyard at the White House.
As a concrete example of concessions to radical-right forces, event sponsors have learned that new language for condom labels will likely be released this week. The language will state that condoms may not completely protect against human papilloma virus (HPV). Health leaders fear that such complex information will eclipse the proven effectiveness of condoms against HIV, a far more dangerous virus, and reduce rates of condom use. (Furthermore, new research has shown that condoms, used correctly and consistently, offer protection against HPV itself. See July 2005 HHS Watch: http://www.champnetwork.org/index.php?name=news).
"Our dedication to fighting for accurate HIV prevention has redoubled with the news that this very week, FDA will likely release new labels for condoms, long a goal of right-wing groups that oppose their use," said Julie Davids, Executive Director of Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP). "The groups that pushed for this are the very same ones opposing a new HPV vaccine that could virtually eliminate cervical and anal cancers within a generation, solely because they see it as anti-abstinence to vaccinate youth for something that can be sexually transmitted. They are convinced that marriage is the only vaccine that is needed against HPV, HIV and all other STDs worldwide."
During tomorrow's mock awards, protesters will distributed a map that documents the office locations and damaging statements made by Concerned Women For America, Eagle Forum, Family Research Council, Heritage Foundation, Medical Institute for Sexual Health and Traditional Values Coalition, as well as Bush's Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator and the White House.
Map available at: www.champnetwork.org/index.php?name=N7
Tomorrow's participants have united in their opposition to attacks on HIV prevention abroad as well as in the U.S., noting that Bushıs PEPFAR (Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) program has placed strict limits on prevention tools and educationlimits that impact not only PEPFARıs 15 focus countries but over 100 nations worldwide receiving some U.S. financial support. Restrictions in these programs create higher risk for women, fast becoming the majority of the epidemic worldwide. So, too, does a recent U.S. ban on funding for groups that deliver HIV prevention to sex workers without explicitly pledging their opposition to such work.
Recent studies document HIV infection rates of 46% in African American men who have sex with men in the U.S. New data also suggest that one in seven African-American men in Washington D.C. are living with HIV.
"Bush and his fundamentalist colleagues want to limit access to prevention education and tools to everyone," said Jose de Marco, a black gay man living with HIV and member of ACT UP Philadelphia. "But in this country, it's my community that is bearing the brunt the most, and Iım convinced they care more about castigating us for our lives than saving them."
The rally, sponsored by ACT UP Philadelphia, ACT UP New York, Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP), Health GAP, and Student Global AIDS Campaign, is an independent affinity action occurring at the time of the Campaign to End AIDS mobilization in Washington DC. For more information on C2EA, see www.c2ea.org .