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Campaign to End
AIDS concludes national tour

Campaign to End
AIDS concludes national tour

Nearly 500 people with HIV/AIDS and their supporters said tearful, triumphant goodbyes to one another in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, the last of four high-energy, high-profile Days of Action organized by the Campaign to End AIDS. The new group traveled across the country to the capital to demand that local, federal, and world leaders do more to stop the AIDS epidemic in the United States and abroad.

While in Washington, campaign participants protested the Bush administration's funding of HIV prevention programs that ignore scientific evidence of the effectiveness of condoms and teach abstinence until marriage as the only means of avoiding the virus. Gatherers also highlighted the immediate need for Congress to reauthorize and fully fund the Ryan White Care Act, which provides treatment and care to more than a half million uninsured Americans with HIV/AIDS, and to increase funding for other programs relied upon by people with AIDS worldwide. "We've lighted a fire, and we're bent on keeping it burning bright," declared campaign cochair the Reverend Charles King, CEO of the New York City AIDS agency Housing Works, which played a major role organizing the D.C. events.

Eight campaign caravans traveled different routes through the U.S. en route to Washington. Together they gave rise to scores of rallies, town meetings, and other events in more than 150 stops nationwide. African-Americans, who account for nearly half of new HIV infections in the U.S., made up roughly half of all campaign travelers. Once together in Washington, participants marched through Anacostia, a part of D.C. hit hard by the epidemic, as residents waved, applauded, and clamored for AIDS information and condoms. Sunday, an interfaith prayer service was held at Metropolitan AME Church, where the body of civil rights hero Rosa Parks had lain the week before. (

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