The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michael Swigert (202) 546-7961

AIDS Activists Rally at White House Today


WHO: One thousand people living with HIV, and allies, from
across the United States. The Inauguration is organized by ACT UP
Philadelphia, Africa Action, African Services Committee, American
Medical Student Association, Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project
(CHAMP), Health GAP, Housing Works, NYC AIDS Housing Network (NYCAHN),
Proyecto Sol Filadelphia, Student Global AIDS Campaign and VOCAL-NY
Users Union. A list of over 70 endorsing organizations can be found at

WHAT: Activists will host an "inauguration ceremony" outside the
White House to inaugurate Barack Obama as the president who, during his
first 100 days, will prioritize policies to end the AIDS epidemic in
the US and worldwide. The AIDS activists will carry the torch for those
lost in the 27-year fight to end the disease, and will look to an Obama
administration to fulfill its campaign promise to develop and implement
a comprehensive, transparent and attainable National AIDS Strategy,
including reforms to HIV prevention, treatment, care, housing and
global AIDS policies. After the "Inauguration Ceremony," advocates will
march to the transition team offices and present a list of policies for
President-elect Obama to adopt and advance during his first 100 days.

WHEN/WHERE: Thursday, Nov. 20th at 1pm, McPherson Square (15th
and Eye NW) with March to the White House and Transition Team HQ,
Washington, DC

WHY: After twenty-seven years of the HIV epidemic, no president
has made fighting AIDS at home and abroad a real priority for his
administration. President-elect Obama has made historically bold
commitments to reform and expand US policies geared towards fighting
AIDS. His campaign pledged to develop a National AIDS Strategy that
includes guaranteed treatment and care for all people with HIV in the
US. The campaign pledge goes on to detail a commitment to housing as an
integral part of HIV services, an end to the federal ban on funding for
syringe exchange, and a call to redirect abstinence-only-until-marriage
sex education funding into honest and accurate programs like
comprehensive HIV prevention programs. Internationally, Obama has
promised to build on President Bush's global AIDS plan by removing the
ideological strings the Bush administration attached to prevention
funding. Specifically, Obama has committed to end the Prostitution
Loyalty Oath and support an evidence-based approach to HIV prevention
that doesn't overly emphasize abstinence and fidelity at the expense of
condoms. He has also pledged to increase funding for the Global Fund to
Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, a multilateral program which fights the
three killer diseases in over 170 countries and which is facing a major
funding shortfall.

"President-elect Obama has made bold promises around fighting AIDS, but
we also know he will face challenges, including a financial crisis. We
are holding an inauguration ceremony because we share his vision of
hope and change, and to show our support for implementation, in his
first 100 days, of the visionary commitments President-elect Obama has
made to fight AIDS in the US and around the world," said ACT UP
Philadelphia member Waheedah Shabazz-el.

Obama's AIDS Plan, released during the campaign, can be found at

Africa Action is a national organization that works for political, economic and social justice in Africa. Through the provision of accessible information and analysis combined with the mobilization of public pressure we work to change the policies and policy-making processes of U.S. and multinational institutions toward Africa. The work of Africa Action is grounded in the history and purpose of its predecessor organizations, the American Committee on Africa (ACOA), The Africa Fund, and the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), which have fought for freedom and justice in Africa since 1953. Continuing this tradition, Africa Action seeks to re-shape U.S. policy toward African countries.