AIDS activists, angry at underfunding of U.S. HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs, marched Monday on the White House to demand a comprehensive AIDS plan from President Bush and all of the Democratic presidential candidates. More than 1,000 people participated in the march, which passed by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and ended with a rally in front of the White House.
"Rather than a war on AIDS, we're seeing a war on AIDS programs, from White House smear campaigns on condom effectiveness, to massive underfunding of the Global Fund on AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, to multiple audits of U.S. community groups that are a lifeline for gay men and people of color at risk of HIV infection," said Jose de Marco of the Philadelphia chapter of ACT UP in a press statement. "As an African-American gay man living with AIDS, I get the impression that Bush has two places for me to go--into the street with nothing or into a hole in the ground."
The activists also released a report on federal HIV/AIDS efforts, titled "HIV/AIDS Federal Policy Year in Review," which includes information on Bush's proposal to flat-fund the Ryan White CARE Act and the current fiscal crises facing many of the nation's AIDS Drug Assistance Programs because of inadequate federal funding. The report also proposes an AIDS platform for all presidential candidates to adopt. The report can be seen online at www.aidsinfonyc.org.