Angry at the Bush administration's response to the world-wide AIDS epidemic, the founder of the AIDS Quilt plans to bring it back to Washington to call new attention to the disease. The quilt was last in the nation's capital in 1996, but activist Cleve Jones is hoping to bring it back on Columbus Day weekend in 2004.
"I'm frightened and I'm angry and I'm going to do everything in my power to get the president and Congress to focus on this issue and take action," said Jones, a gay man who developed symptoms of AIDS in 1992 and has taken expensive drug treatments to control the disease since then. "America is obliged to take the leadership in fighting AIDS, not only at home but across the globe," Jones said in a telephone interview Sunday during an appearance with a portion of the quilt in Keene, N.H. "We'll make a demand of government to pay attention and do what's necessary."
Jones said the United Nations has estimated that $10 billion a year is needed for treatment, prevention, and research as well as care for children orphaned by the disease. He said Bush and Congress have appropriated only $500 million, "a pathetic amount.... I think the American government should commit at least $2 billion a year to the global fund. For the world's most powerful nation to shirk its responsibility on this issue is outrageous."