For Immediate Release
AIDS Activists Arrested Taking Over Republican Leader Eric Cantor’s Office Protest “Compromise” Global Budget Cuts and Syringe Exchange Ban for DC
House Republican plans will cost the lives of over 1 million people, deny people living with HIV access to effective prevention programs
WASHINGTON - People living with HIV, students, and local DC activists took over the office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor today as Congress prepared to enact draconian budget cuts to international development programs and negated over whether to deny Washington, DC the right to fund effective syringe exchange programs.
“Majority Leader Cantor and the House Republicans are about to introduce a bill to balance the federal budget on the backs of people living with HIV in Africa,” said Michael Tikili from Health GAP (Global Access Project).
Details of exactly what was in the so-called compromise remained sketchy Monday morning, but based on Republican plans are likely to include hundreds of millions in cuts to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Those plans would cost at least 1 million lives around the world to AIDS and related diseases.
Meanwhile, Congress is reportedly still negotiating over whether to re-impose an extremist policy to bar Washington, DC from using local tax dollars to finance highly effective syringe exchange programs. Washington has the highest HIV rates in the country—in part because syringe exchange was barred for years by previous Republican Congresses, with the affect of thousands of needless HIV infections.
“House Republicans are once again abusing Washington, DC residents in a play to enact their extremist ideology—putting thousands of lives at risk so they can please their base. Syringe exchange programs have been proven effective and cities around the world have cut their HIV rates through their use. Denying science-based HIV prevention to Washington DC leaves blood on the hands of Republican leaders,” said Larry Bryant of DC Fights Back, a local AIDS activist group.