Students lobby Congress in support of AIDS funding
More than 200 medical and undergraduate students from more than 40 states met with 250 members of Congress Monday to urge swift passage of President Bush's proposed five-year $15 billion international AIDS initiative. The students, part of the Students Mobilizing Against the Crisis of AIDS Coalition, also held a rally and press conference on Capitol Hill that featured speeches from Garth Graham, a board member of Physicians for Human Rights; Minesh Shah, a fellow of the American Medical Student Association; Joia Stapleton Mukherjee, medical director of Partners in Health; and Cara Henry, a member of Amnesty International's Women's Rights Steering Committee. According to statistics presented by the students at the press conference, more than 500,000 people have died of AIDS-related complications since Bush proposed the international AIDS plan in late January. Likewise, 1 million have become infected with HIV, and 100,000 children have been orphaned due to adult fatalities from HIV-related diseases.