The Philadelphia chapter of ACT UP plans to mark World AIDS Day on Wednesday by delivering a giant spine to the home of Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) to demand that he find the backbone to stand up to the Bush administration's attacks on HIV prevention programs as well as funding cuts to the United Nations-backed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
"Arlen Specter talks a great talk about global AIDS, but last week he caved in to pressure from the Bush administration and cut funding for the Global AIDS Fund," says ACT UP's Jose DeMarco in a press release. "This cowardly cut happened during the Global Fund's board meeting in Tanzania, where African heads of state and people with AIDS from all over the world were insisting that a new round of grants for lifesaving programs be launched."
Specter is the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Appropriations committee. In addition to cuts to the Global Fund, Specter voted to cut funding for lifesaving domestic AIDS programs that provide access to medicines and other direct services for thousands of low-income Americans with HIV. "We are bringing Senator Specter a new spine because he seems to have misplaced his," says ACT UP's Allison Dinsmore. "With a new backbone, maybe Specter will be able to keep his promises and stand up to the Bush administration's ideological attacks on effective HIV prevention and the White House's attempts to kill the Global AIDS Fund."