Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Many thanks to all who have written to me about the ad in The Nation this week, pointing out the work is an appropriation of a famous painting by Goya, "Saturn Devouring one of his Children."

To see Goya's original art work, along with an explanation of it, go to this site.

The ad, by sculptor Richard Serra, is capturing the attention of voters and pundits on the left and right.

Speaking of Serra, none other than First Lady Laura Bush is a fan of one of his works in the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

At a February 2003 event for the museum, Laura Bush said, "Art doesn't just hang in the Modern - it comes to life. Richard Serra's Vortex 2002, is a wonderful welcome to the museum. I enjoyed seeing Jackson Pollock's Masqued Image. And given my fondness for books, I, of course loved Anselm Kiefer's giant book." (Source: White House site.)

I wonder how she feels about Serra's new work in The Nation ad, featuring her husband.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

After allowing my subscription to The Nation to expire, due to lack of funds last year, I renewed my subscription and now read it regularly.

The latest issue's back page ad is an artistic rendering of Dubya eating a headless child, drops of blood around his mouth and spilling onto his hands, and it's undoubtedly an eyeful of political art.

If you're a fellow subscriber to The Nation, then you know the ad I'm talking about in the July 5 issue.

But if you're not reading The Nation these days, and you want to see this powerful, and somewhat obscene, piece of public advertising art, go to the sponsoring organization's web site:

You may soon see this work of art on other web sites, at antiwar rallies and on tee shirts.
May 27, 2004

Mitchell Katz, MD
Department of Public Health
101 Grove Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Dear Dr. Katz,

With the fifteenth international HIV/AIDS conference in Bangkok fast approaching, I would like to know about your department’s involvement with the conference.

Here are the questions I feel need to be addressed before the conference begins:

How many DPH employees will be attending the meeting?
What is the total cost to the city for sending DPH employees to Bangkok?

Can you break down that cost by expense; airfares, hotel accommodations, meals, conference fees, etc.?

Let me state for the record, that I am not seeking any names of DPH employees. I only want to know the number of people from your department who are traveling to the conference.

A prompt reply is requested.

Michael Petrelis

- - -

June 2, 2004

Dear Mr. Petrelis:

In response to your inquiry of May 27, 2004, regarding the number of DPH staff and total cost to The City for those who are planning to attend the HIV/AIDS conference in Bangkok, please not the following:


STD Office/ $900/ $490/ No reimbursement/ Privately funded
AIDS Office/ Grant, $1172/ Grant, $490/ Grant/ Scholarship
AIDS Office/ Scholarship/ Scholarship/ Scholarship/ Scholarship
AIDS Office/ Scholarship/ Scholarship/ Scholarship/ Scholarship
AIDS Office/ Grant, $1000/ Grant, $1250/ Grant, $500/ Grant, $1000
AIDS Office/ Grant, $1000/ Grant, $1250/ Grant, $500/ Grant, $1000
AIDS Office/ Grant, $1000/ Grant, $1250/ Grant, $500/ Grant, $1000

Note: All grant funded expenses were specifically awarded for travel to the International AIDS Conference. No prevention or health services funds (Ryan White or CDC/HIV Prevention) are being used.

I am pleased to note that one of our researchers will receive the prestigious "Young Investigator's Award for Epidemiology" on the closing session. The information available to date indicates the seven individuals attending will be presenting 12 papers, five abstracts, one poster and a workshop. The direct cost to The City is $1500.

Thank you for your interest in this upcoming event.

Sincerely yours,
Mitchell H. Katz, MD
Director of Health

- - -

June 29, 2004

Dear Dr. Katz:

Thank you for your reply of June 2 about DPH costs for sending employees to the Bangkok International AIDS Conference and their participation in it.

I would like a copy of the twelve papers, five abstracts and the one poster that will be presented by your employees, before the conference begins next month.

Please mail me paper copies of the documents, and, if digitized versions are available, those versions are also requested.

By the way, I am sending a copy of a 1991 Washington Times story about the costs of sending U.S. federal employees to the Florence International AIDS Conference, which should be of historical interest to you.

I look forward to a quick response from you.

Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA

- - -

The Washington Times
May 15, 1991, Wednesday, Final Edition
SECTION: Part A; Pg. A1

Some question cost of AIDS trip

BYLINE: Joyce Price

The U.S. Public Health Service is sending 392 employees to the 7th International AIDS Conference in Florence, Italy, next month - at a cost to taxpayers of $1.55 million.

Paul Simmons, USPHS deputy assistant secretary for health communications, insists that both the number of people going to the conference and the cost are reasonable. "We're the world leaders on this thing [AIDS]," he said.

"And the 392 people we're sending - 67 percent of whom will be making formal presentations at the conference - will represent less than 5 percent of the 8,000 people who'll be attending. Dr. James Mason [assistant health secretary] says an awful lot more people go to conferences on cancer."

But some congressional critics and others questioned the size of the contingent and the expense.

"It sounds like an astonishing number," said David Keating, vice president of the National Taxpayers Union.

Mike Petrelis, spokesman for the D.C. Chapter of the militant AIDS group ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), said: "I don't think taxpayers should have to pay for people like Dr. [Robert] Gallo and the others to go to Florence. . . . That money could be better used for clinical trials for new drugs." Dr. Gallo was the first American to isolate the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS.

"We could see about 50 tops, plus some people at [Dr. Anthony] Fauci's level," said Mike Frank, an aide to Rep. William Dannemeyer, California Republican. Dr. Fauci is director of the Office of AIDS Research at the National Institutes of Health and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"$1.5 million could go a long way to treat people with the [AIDS] virus, rather than treating the people who treat those with the virus to a nice vacation," Mr. Frank said.

But Mr. Simmons said the conference will be "no vacation." And he noted that the number of USPHS staffers going to Florence for the June 16-21 World Health Organization event "is 40 percent less than went to last year's conference in San Francisco and 30 percent less than went to Montreal the year before."

As for this year's price tag, Mr. Simmons said, "It's about the same cost as last year."

Mr. Simmons said 563 USPHS employees attended the 1989 conference in Montreal and the bill was $1 million. Last year, 730 USPHS staffers attended the conference in San Francisco. The amount of tax money spent was $1.5 million. "We were the host country for that one," he said.

Mr. Keating observed: "It sounds as if they have a certain amount of money and that they will spend it."

Mr. Dannemeyer requested information from the Department of Health and Human Services, USPHS' parent agency, several weeks ago as to the number of federal employees going to the conference and the cost of the trip.

The request followed reports of questionable taxpayer-funded travel by White House Chief of Staff John Sununu and other government officials. Last week two House committees scrapped plans to ask the Air Force to fly them, their wives and other guests to the Paris Air Show June 13-23.

Mr. Simmons noted that "the $1.5 million being spent represents less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the total AIDS budget."

Employees who go to Florence will be reimbursed at a rate of $234 per day: $112 for lodging and $122 for meals, he said, adding that the per diem amounts are set by the State Department. "Speaking as someone who recently vacationed in Florence," Mr. Simmons said, "that rate is not generous whatsoever."

Bill Grigg, head of the news office for USPHS, said the CDC negotiated room rates that would stay within the lodging allowance. "And NIH [National Institutes of Health] is, in effect, telling people that it's only paying half of a double room rate. So, unless people double up, they'll be paying for double rooms themselves."

Those planning to attend the conference, Mr. Simmons said, include Dr. Fauci; Dr. Antonia Novello, the U.S. surgeon general; Dr. William Roper, director of the CDC; and Dr. Gallo, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute.

"Everyone else who'll be going are scientists, researchers or [AIDS] educators," Mr. Simmons said.

AIDS activists disagree as to the benefits that will be derived from USPHS' large representation at the AIDS conference. "It sounds like a bit much, but at this point I have to trust their judgment," said Paul Sathrum, director of programs for the National Association of People With AIDS. "It's very important that we have a presence at those conferences because a lot of vital information is presented there."

Mr. Petrelis of ACT-UP said he attended the AIDS conference last year and also in 1987, when it was held in Washington. "A lot of the publicity about the conference in Washington focused on peptide T," he recalled. "But here it is 1991, and we're still waiting for larger clinical trials using that drug."

Tom Schatz, senior vice president of Citizens Against Government Waste, said USPHS "probably could send fewer people." Nevertheless, he said, "this is a serious academic health conference."

"At least they are not going to an air show in Paris just to party."

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Dear Friends:

As you probably know by now, the Green Party on Saturday chose David Cobb to be its presidential candidate this year.

While I am certainly disappointed the Greens didn't endorse Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo, I will waste no time bemoaning this development, and still support the party and its slate of candidates. There is no way I could do otherwise when I am trying to give California voters choices at the ballot box, other than Democrats and Republicans.

With the Green Party endorsing Cobb over Nader/Camejo, our efforts to get them on the California ballot must increase, and fast.

The agenda for our June 28 meeting has been updated.

1. Introductions
2. Review of current signature gathering (How many signatures from SF/Bay Area do we have?)
3. Review of voter registration effort
4. Update on Nader/Camejo merchandise
5. Promotion of web site
6. Future plans: signature gathering at "Fahrenheit 9/11" screenings and Rainbow Grocery, our next meeting, Nader's appearance in S.F. on July 16.

Please come to the June 28 meeting at City Blend Cafe (see below for more info about the time and address).

Michael Petrelis

Forwarded Message:

Subj: Nader meeting on Monday
Date: 6/26/2004 11:49:25 PM Central Daylight Time
From: Mantelhoffm
To: M Petrelis

Just wondering whether you know about any Nader 2004 merchandise. Do you know if it's out yet. Also, did you say you're going to have petitions on Monday evening. Also, even though I know Michael Moore isn't supporting Ralph this year I thing if we get a bunch of people to head out to the movie theaters where Fahrenheit 9/11 is playing. We should be able to pick up a bunch of signatures. People will sign up after watching the film, I'm sure.
See you Monday,
ian hoffmann
Forwarded Message:
Subj: Happy Gay Pride Day!
Date: 6/27/2004 11:43:59 AM Central Daylight Time
From: AEvans604
To: M Petrelis

Dear Michael,

Happy Gay Pride Day to you!

35 years since Stonewall, 20 years since Arthur Bell's death. In that interval, one generation, a revolution has occurred.

The right has had some success in blocking the politics, but they can't restrain the energy. That's why we'll win.

Best wishes for a glorious day.


Dear Friends:

On this year's Queer Pride Day, I am gloriously rejoicing just at still being alive to enjoy all the hoopla, sad commercialization of the movement, and crazy politics of San Francisco.

But I also recall the names of pioneers who are no longer with us, and choose to honor them in one way by sharing the lyrics to our gay anthem.

For Vito Russo, Arthur Bell, Marty Robinson, Sylvia Rivera, and all the others who paved a yellow brick road for me, and the generations that are coming after mine, I say thank you.

Happy Queer Pride!

Michael Petrelis.

Lyrics to "Over the Rainbow"
music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

Friday, June 25, 2004

[Please post and redistribute far and wide.]

Dear Friends:

I am gathering signatures to place Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo on the California ballot, and as you can imagine, it's not the easiest task trying get people to sign the petitions.

When the voter is willing to sign, and understands how important it is to offer voters a choice this November in the presidential race, I find we then talk for a few minutes about the Nader campaign.

As you may know, we need 153,805 valid signatures, to qualify for the ballot, therefore our goal is 210,000 signatures by August 6, 2004. There is much strategizing and work to do before then, and you can play a crucial part in gathering signatures.

To increase the number of signatures from San Francisco, I am taking the initiative to meet up with other Nader volunteers.

I'll be hosting a relaxed meeting from 6:00 to 7:00 PM on Monday, June 28, at the City Blend Cafe, located at 3087-16th Street, between Mission and Valencia streets. The closest BART station is the 16th and Mission stop, and Muni bus lines 26 Valencia, 22 Fillmore and the 14 Mission bring you to the cafe.

Stop by and pick up petitions and San Francisco voter registration forms. If you're already collecting signatures, come meet other Nader supporters and help organize more of Nader campaign in San Francisco, and the larger Bay Area.

Also remember there's a sponsored San Francisco Nader supporters event on Thursday, July 8 at 7:00 PM, place to be determined. Visit and vote for your favorite place to meet next month.

Can't make my June 28 meeting, but still want a petition or voter registration form from me?

You can call me at 415-621-6267, or email me at, to make arrangements for me to get you the needed materials.

Michael Petrelis

Thursday, June 24, 2004

In my note yesterday accompanying the text of President Bush's speech on AIDS delivered in Philadelphia, I mentioned his omission of gay men and men who have sex with men, despite the fact that such men comprise the largest communities affected by HIV/AIDS in America.

To my surprise, the Human Rights Campaign, Health GAP, and ACT UP/Philadelphia utterly failed to call attention to Bush's omission. While all three groups are critical of Bush for various reasons, none cared enough about gays and MSM to say something about our HIV prevention and treatment needs.

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, conservative gay writer Andrew Sullivan both praises Bush for some matters, but also criticizes him for his failure to talk about gay men.

Something is desperately wrong when a Birkenstock-wearing queer Nader voter and AIDS patient in San Francisco, along with a right-wing gay pundit in Washington, both chastise Bush for his gay omission, and at the same time, the mainstream HRC and the leftist Health GAP and ACT UP/Philadelphia are silent about the omission.

BUSH ON AIDS: He spoke movingly and powerfully yesterday. History will credit him for caring about this issue far more than his predecessor, Bill Clinton. Maybe because it was my eleventh anniversary of finding out I got HIV but I was moved by his words. Except, of course, for his usual exception in his compassionate conservatism: gay men. The president managed to give an entire speech and - again - never mentioned one of the biggest groups in the country affected by it. Amazing. How do his speech-writers do it? To a black audience, he had a chance to help them confront the homophobia that has crippled the black community's ability to confront the epidemic. But, of course, Bush didn't. Imagine what James Dobson would say. He also said the following:
The second part of a domestic strategy to fight AIDS is prevention. I think it's really important for us to focus on prevention. We can learn from the experiences of other countries when it comes to a good program to prevent the spread of AIDS, like the nation of Uganda. They've started what they call the A-B-C approach to prevention of this deadly disease. That stands for: Abstain, be faithful in marriage, and, when appropriate, use condoms. That's what A-B-C stands for. And it's working. I like to call it a practical, balanced and moral message.
And yet, in one of the populations most at risk from this disease, Bush opposes any measures that would encourage marriage. In fact, he is waging a war to ban such marriages, and erase any incentives for gay men to stick together. Is Bush aware of this lacuna? If marriage cannot be a strategy for prevention among gays, then what is his prevention policy? He has none, because in order to have one, he would have to acknowledge that gay people exist - and that he is their president too. That he cannot and will not do. It's too depressing for words.


For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Contact: Steven Fisher
Phone: (202) 216-1547
Cell: (202) 431-7608

Contact: Mark Shields
Phone: (202) 216-1564
Cell: (202) 716-1637


"Giving Americans the unvarnished truth about HIV/AIDS is the only way
to stop it," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign responded today to President Bush's
speech on HIV/AIDS by underscoring the importance of prevention and
education. While we are heartened that the President acknowledged the
urgency of the domestic HIV/AIDS crisis, the only way to stop HIV/AIDS is
to give people - especially young people and communities of color - the
truth about prevention.

"Giving Americans the unvarnished truth about HIV/AIDS is the only way to
stop it," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "That unvarnished truth must
start with real education. While we laud the President's attention to
HIV/AIDS and his promise to allocate some funds to key programs, the
President supports abstinence-only-until-marriage education - programs
that time and again have been proven ineffective in stopping the spread of
sexually transmitted diseases."

Added Jacques: "Even the Ugandan programs that President Bush cited today
incorporated information about condoms as an essential part of the A-B-C
model - that is, Abstain, Be Faithful, Condoms."

During a speech in Philadelphia, the President promised to immediately
release $20 million to alleviate the crisis conditions that exist in many
state AIDS Drugs Assistance Programs (ADAPs). The Human Rights Campaign
applauds the provision of these critically-needed funds.

"We hope that this is just the beginning of increased financial support
for state ADAPs," added Jacques. "Experts estimate that more than double
that sum is needed to eliminate the emergency conditions faced by
thousands nationwide who are on waitlists for life-saving drug therapies."

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender political organization with members throughout the
country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and
educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and
safe at home, at work and in the community.


Health GAP Press Release

AIDS Activists Reject President Bush's Global AIDS Victory Claims:
Lies on Speed of Spending, Lies on Prevention, and Lies on Access to
Cheap Medicines

For Immediate Release: June 23, 2004
Contact: Sharonann Lynch: 646 645-5225, Asia Russell: 267-475-2645

(Philadelphia) President Bush claimed dramatic victories and
programmatic enhancements in the battle against HIV/AIDS in a speech
at a Philadelphia church. According to Health GAP, these claims are
dangerously misleading - rather than responding proportionately to
the worldwide AIDS pandemic, the Bush Administration continues to
under-fund global need, to impose failed prevention policies, and to
place road-blocks on access to the cheapest AIDS medicines.

"President Bush claims that he has mounted an emergency response, but
4.5 million people have died of AIDS since his State of the Union
Address in Jan. 2001," said Sharonann Lynch of Health GAP. "Rather
than investing heavily in immediate treatment and prevention services
and in expanding health care capacity in poor countries, Bush has
adopted a go slow approach which thus far has only disbursed a
fraction of promised resources, less than $350 million of the paltry
$2.4 billion appropriated for FY2004," Lynch continued. "Although
he's promising to release another $500 million 'shortly,' in the
meantime real people are dying," Lynch concluded.

Activists claim that the $15 billion promised by Bush over a five
year period represents only half of the U.S. fair share of $30
billion needed to meet global need. They also claim that he is
bypassing the multilateral Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and
Malaria, which will be functionally bankrupt as of 2005 because of
dramatic reductions in U.S. donations (down to $200 million/year).
"Bush is not investing in medical infrastructure in Africa or
elsewhere," said Paul Davis of Health GAP. "Moreover, his five year
plan to treat only 2 million people means that 13-15 million people
with AIDS while die during that same time period. How is that a
compassionate and emergent response?" Davis asked.

In addition to criticizing Bush's delayed spending, Health GAP
challenged the efficacy of Bush's emphasis on abstinence only
prevention messages. "Each and every scientific discovery conducted
thus far has found that abstinence-only messages are less effective
in preventing HIV and STDs than more balanced messages that also
promote proper use of condoms," said Asia Russell of Health GAP.
"Couples in Africa have access to 4.6 condoms a year - how can we
argue that condoms aren't effective, when we refuse to supply them in
meaningful quantities?"

The U.S. choice of Vietnam as a 15th focus country is also
controversial according to Health GAP. "The U.S. focuses most of its
resources on just handful of countries rather than the hundred
worldwide that tottering toward disaster," said Laurie Wen of Health
GAP. "There's nothing wrong with addressing the escalating HIV
epidemic in Vietnam, but what about India which has 50 times as many
people living with HIV or what about China or Thailand? It makes no
sense for the U.S. to bypass multilateral institutions like the
Global Fund that countries like Vietnam rely and then to superimpose
its own unilateral programs with all their conditionalities and
restrictions," Wen said. "The pandemic in Vietnam, like that in
Thailand is largely driven by intravenous drug use and infection
among sex workers. Yet, the U.S. program, unlike the Global Fund,
prohibits harm reduction programs like needle exchange and restricts
condom use. If we're going to choose countries, let's at least do
something that actually helps."

Also, the activist group disputes the claims made by the White House
fact sheet released today, concerning U.S. plans to allow expedited
access to low-cost, easy to use AIDS medicines. "The WHO
Prequalification Process has already approved nearly 90 AIDS drugs
nearly half of which are manufactured by Indian generics. Rather
than authorize purchase of these pre-qualified drugs, the U.S. has
set up a redundant process and took 18 months to do even that," said
Brook Baker of Health GAP. "Moreover, the FDA process will not be
open to the newest AIDS medicines because of data protections rules
that prevent even tentative approval during the first five years of a
new proprietary medicine," continued Baker, a law professor at
Northeastern University School of Law. "Finally, the U.S. is
negotiating intellectual property protections in its free trade
agreements with developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin
America which prevent countries from using cheaper generic medicines
- expanded patent rights and enhanced protection of proprietary
companies' clinical data will deal a death knell to treatment
access," according to Baker.

Bush's AIDS speech comes three weeks before the XV International AIDS
Conference in Bangkok and just one day before a Global Day of Action
against U.S. AIDS Policies called by the Treatment Action Campaign of
South Africa. Tomorrow, activists in a dozen countries and a dozen
U.S. cities will be protesting U.S. policy and challenging Bush's
claim to leadership on the AIDS issue.

ACT UP Philadelphia Press Release

Pennsylvanians w/ AIDS & Supporters Confront Bush at Campaign HQ,

Part of a Global Day of Protest Against Bush AIDS Polices Around the World
and Across the Country -- one day after AIDS speech in Philadelphia

1 pm Thurs 24 June * 116 Pine St @ Bush/Cheney Campaign HQ, Harrisburg, PA
[bus leaves Philadelphia at 9:30 AM from Broad and Walnut]

For Immediate Release: June 22, 2004
Contact: Paul Davis, 215 833 4102 (mobile)

(Harrisburg) On June 24, AIDS activists will march on the Harrisburg PA
Bush/Cheney Campaign Offices as part of demonstrations across the country
and world protesting the President global AIDS policies. The worldwide day
of protest was called for by AIDS activists in South Africa and other Bush
AIDS funding recipients. The protests come one day after a Bush Address in
Philadelphia about global AIDS.

In his State of the Union address in January 2002, President Bush made
headlines when he pledged $15 billion to fight global AIDS. Two years
later, only $350 million towards his new initiative have been disbursed.
However, he cut funds to the already-operating Global AIDS Fund, and the
Administration is still in the process of setting up its new, unilateral

More than six million people have died since the 2003 State of the Union

Waheeda al-Shabazz of Project Teach and ACT UP is disgusted by the
President¹s visit. She said, ³I can¹t believe President Bush has the
audacity to come to North Philadelphia to talk about his AIDS policies and
pose as a compassionate leader in a black church.²

³President Bush has stopped payment on his $15 billion pledge. So we are
returning this check to its sender,² continued al-Shabazz. ³We demand a real
$30 billion program that uses affordable generic drugs and science ­ not
ideology ­ base prevention programs. The strings attached to the Bush
program amount to a noose.²

³The Bush Campaign is using the global AIDS crisis to appear compassionate
during an election year, but he is still pandering to Republican special
interests,² reports ACT UP member Jose DeMarco. ³The Bush Administration is
forcing the poorest of countries to use expensive, patented drugs instead of
affordable high-quality generics, disregarding international drug quality
standards and forcing generic companies to jump through new FDA hoops.² The
Bush Administration hired Eli-Lilly CEO Randall Tobias to run his global
AIDS program.

³President Bush Campaign is also pandering to social conservatives by using
his AIDS initiative to push disproven abstinence-only programs,² continues
DeMarco. ³Ambassador Tobias claims that condoms are ineffective, and this
Administration is pushing prevention policies that will accelerate

The Bush visit ­ and protest ­ come one day before a global day of protest
against Bush AIDS policies, called for by South Africa¹s Treatment Action
Campaign. People with AIDS in dozens of countries -- including many
countries that receive Bush AIDS funding, will recipient across the globe
plan protests at US Embassies. In the US, activists will return the Bush
AIDS check to Bush campaign headquarters in seven swing states, including PA
(Harrisburg), OH (Columbus and Cleveland), NH (Manchester), WA (Seattle), MI
(Detroit) as well as NYC and the national campaign office in Arlington VA.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Over five thousand words spoken by Bush on HIV/AIDS and not once does he mention gay men, or men who have sex with men.

Bush's HIV/AIDS advisors should be aware that in the U.S., gay and bisexual men comprise the largest category of newly HIV infected individuals, and the same goes for full-blown AIDS cases.

That said, I must applaud Bush for advocating more accountability over Ryan White CARE Act funded groups.

Bush said, "Let us set priorities and make sure the resources fund those priorities. That
makes sense, with taxpayers' money, it seems like to me. We must hold
accountable organizations that receive federal help to fight AIDS by keeping
track of their progress. People shouldn't fear that. They ought to -- say,
are you doing the job? Are lives being saved? Are your lines too long? If
they are, why? Are you getting out the word? Are you doing what we asked?
You see, we're interested in the people's lives, not the bureaucratic

For too long federal funds have flowed to Ryan White-funded AIDS service organizations, with minimal demands made on the groups to prove they meet the needs of patients.

You can be sure AIDS groups in San Francisco will soon howl over Bush's remarks today, because they greatly fear being accountable to the patients they serve and Congress.

Here's the text of Bush's speech.

-----Original Message-----
From: White House Press Releases
Sent: Wed Jun 23 12:51:24 2004


Office of the Press Secretary
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
For Immediate Release June 23, 2004


People For People
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

10:42 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thanks for coming. Please be
seated. Thanks for coming. The person who introduces me in the White House
better look out for his job. (Laughter.) Your mother said, get out of the
middle of the road when a truck is coming. My mother said, keep your
speeches short. (Laughter.)

Thanks for having me. It's great to be back in this compassionate
city. I think it's called the City of Brotherly Love, and that's what we're
here to talk about today, is brotherly love.

First I want to thank my friend, Herb Lusk, for inviting me back to
the Greater Exodus Baptist Church. I've been here before, the 4th of July.
(Applause.) And I don't remember this building being here. At the time I
said, Herb is a social entrepreneur who can make things happen. We're in
this beautiful building because he made things happen. (Applause.) He
believes, as I do, in the power of faith to touch every heart and to change
every life.

That's kind of the motto or the philosophy of the programs that
emanate from this church. He is a -- he takes his admonition to love a
neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself seriously. And so do the
people who attend this church.

I want to remind you that not only is there great spirituality here,
but this is a church that trains people coming off welfare rolls to find
work. Isn't that a wonderful -- (applause.) This is a church which helps
feed the hungry, and finds shelter for the homeless. A church that helps
families to stay together. This is a church that is giving generously of
time and money. Herb Lusk is a general in the army of compassion.

This is a -- and the other thing this church is doing is sending
donations to fight AIDS around the world. (Applause.) I'm here to thank
the church for doing that. I want to thank all the churches in the Greater
Philadelphia area for the Stand for Africa Campaign. This is a great
example of how people of faith can become involved in saving lives. It's a
fine example for every American, faith or no faith.

HIV/AIDS, you see, is a challenge, it's a direct challenge to the
compassion of our country, and to the welfare of not only our nation, but
nations all across the globe. It's really one of the great challenges of
our time. This disease leaves suffering and orphans and fear wherever it

Every man and woman and child who suffers from this addiction, from
the streets of Philly to the villages of Africa, is a child of God who
deserves our love and our help. And that's what I'm here to talk about
today. We're provided -- we're determined to provide that help. We're
committed to help those at home and help those abroad. To whom much has
been given, much is demanded.

I want to thank Tommy Thompson for being here. He's one of the
ones I demand that he do his job to make sure that we do the best we can in
America to help those who hurt. And Tommy is the -- he's the head of the
Department of Health and Human Services. He's doing a fabulous job. I want
to thank you for coming. (Applause.) His job is to work with the issue at
home, as well as abroad. But to help him make sure the AIDS initiative, our
international AIDS initiative works well, I went into the private sector and
found somebody who had run a complex organization before. You see, we're
moving a lot of money -- and I'm about to describe it to you here in a
minute -- but I want to make sure the money is actually spent wisely. See,
we ought not to be measured on how much money we move, we ought to be
measured on how many lives we save. (Applause.)

So, therefore, I needed somebody who is a manager, somebody who
could organize, somebody who could find that which works and make sure it
continues to work well, and that which doesn't work, replace it with
something that does. Somebody who is open-minded and focused on the
results. And that is Ambassador Randy Tobias. I'm proud you're here,
Randy. Thanks for coming. (Applause.)

And working with Tobias is my friend, Dr. Joe O'Neill. He is the
person -- I like to call him the architect of the global AIDS initiative.
Dr. Joe has been very much involved with HIV/AIDS for a long period of time.
He's a pioneer in many ways, a deeply compassionate person and a man I'm
proud to call friend. Thank you for coming, Joe. I'm glad you're here.

We've got a lot of other important people here. We've got members
of Congress -- and since Congress is in session, it's probably in my
interest to introduce the congressmen. (Laughter.) Congressman Curt Weldon
and Congressman Jim Greenwood are with us today, two really fine members.
(Applause.) Senator Specter flew on the airplane, he had to get back for
some votes, but he sent his better half -- and I emphasize "better half."
(Laughter.) I want to thank Mrs. Specter for coming today. (Applause.)
City Councilman Jack Kelly, as well -- is here, as well.

Members from the church are here. We've got bishops from different
religions, and I am honored you are here. We've got people who have heard
the call and who want to serve, are here. We've got a volunteer who is
here, a person named Pat McDonough. I met her at the airport. There she
is. Pat, thank you for coming. (Applause.) She is a volunteer at Silloam.
I'll be talking about Silloam pretty soon. It's a spiritually-based program
designed to help save lives. You'll hear some stories about this
locally-based grassroots organization, which depends upon people such as Pat
to show up and volunteer.

And so the reason I bring up Pat -- first of all, what she does,
she's a massage therapist for people affected by HIV/AIDS. She uses her
hands to help reflect her heart and make people more comfortable in their
pain. You know, when you've got somebody who loves somebody helping them
through their pain, the effect is not only physical, it can be spiritual, as
well. And I want to thank Pat for volunteering.

My call to people in Philadelphia who want to love their neighbor is
to find programs such as Silloam, or the programs in Herb's church, and say,
I want to help. To me, it's patriotic to love a neighbor like you'd like to
loved yourself.

I appreciate the example, Pat, that you have set. And I'm honored
you are here, and thank you for coming. (Applause.)

Every day in our world, 8,000 lives are lost to the AIDS pandemic --
8,000 people a day. We are fighting one of the great tragedies of human
history. And it's important for our fellow citizens to understand that this
is a great tragedy. See, when you see a great tragedy, people will respond.
This isn't a minor tragedy. It's just not a blip in history. It is a great
tragedy. That's how I view it. That's how others here view it, as well.

Tens of millions of people are living with HIV virus. More than two
million of them are children under the age of 15. It's really difficult to
think about that kind of injustice, isn't it, about despair coming so early
to boys and girls who are so young. That's the problem we face. That's a
problem we'll deal with. AIDS is an individual tragedy for all who suffer,
and a public health catastrophe that threatens the future of many nations.

In some African countries, the percentage of adults infected with
HIV is as high as one-third. In our own country, nearly a million of our
fellow Americans have the virus, and 40,000 more contract it each year.

Yet, there are reasons to be encouraged and hopeful and optimistic
in the fight against AIDS. HIV is no longer a hopeless death sentence, and
that's a positive development. New drugs and new treatments are
dramatically extending and improving lives. The scientists and researchers
who develop these drugs are some of the great humanitarian heroes of our
time, and we thank them for their work, and we will fund their work.

Their work has made broader treatment, even in the poorest of
countries, a realistic hope. And proven methods of prevention are showing
the spread of this disease -- are slowing the spread of this disease in some
parts of the world. In other words, prevention -- we're beginning to
understand how to prevent the disease from spreading. HIV/AIDS can be
beaten. We're committed to ending the plague. America is committed to
continue to leading the world in ending the plague. (Applause.)

We're fully engaged in this global fight against AIDS -- I mean
fully engaged. Our nation took the lead in sounding the global fund. We
remain the world's largest contributor to the fund. We're setting the
example for others to follow. That's what a leader does. America leads so
that others will follow.

To expand these efforts, a year and a half ago I announced the
Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. That's the plan that Dr. O'Neill is the
architect of. I called for $15 billion over five years to combat the spread
of HIV in other countries, and to provide treatment and care to 10 million
people affected by HIV. Earlier this year, Congress provided $2.4 billion
for my emergency plan -- in other words, they're beginning to fund the plan.
And I thank them for that. I want to thank the members of Congress who are
here. (Applause.)

I call upon Congress to make sure they fully fund the plan. The
first portion, $350 million, began reaching people in need six weeks ago --
only six weeks ago, I might add. (Applause.) That is the fast -- that is
faster than any major international anti-AIDS effort has ever been
implemented. Because our help cannot get there fast enough, there is a
pandemic on the continent. We need to move quickly.

We've identified 14 nations in Africa and the Caribbean in need of
urgent help. The global fund and bilateral funding really means we're
reaching all around the world. We're focused on 14 nations where the
pandemic is most acute. Let's go where the problems are the toughest, I
said. Let's bring America -- let's bring America to where -- where people
suffer the most. We want to tackle the toughest problems in this country,
not the easiest ones. We'll leave the easier ones for other people.

In these countries, the money is funding clinics, buying drugs,
paying for treatments, supporting faith-based groups, training health care
workers. The funds are making a difference already. In just a few months,
the Reach Out clinic in Uganda -- one of these little centers of heroism in
the midst of disease -- in Uganda more than doubled the number of patients
it is treating with life-extending antiretroviral drugs. In other words,
we're beginning to get it out. We're beginning to -- we're beginning to see
results. Suddenly, there's new hope among those who seek help and those who
give it.

See, when they get the antiretroviral drug, there's a Lazarus effect
-- (applause) -- and people, all of a sudden, say, I have hope. And when
others have hope -- when someone has hope, that spreads to other people.
There's nothing better than a hopeful society in dealing with the pandemic.
A hopeful society means you think you can win. A non-hopeful society says,
I surrender. America is not going to surrender to the pandemic.

One of the workers in the clinic describes it this way: "We are
experiencing something very beautiful. Our clients will have a chance to
continue to live." I want to thank you all for your work.

Jennifer Birungi is a widow who lives in Uganda's capital, Kampala.
She has two children. She has HIV, and earlier this year she was diagnosed
with meningitis. It's a terrible disease under any circumstance. But that
one is especially devastating for people with HIV. The doctors will tell
you the combination of HIV and meningitis is deadly. Without treatment, her
life expectancy would have been six days. Because America acted, because
the American people acted, she's getting treatment, and the extra years she
now hopes for will mean everything to her children. (Applause.)

For too long, anti-AIDS programs offered too little treatment for
those who had already contracted the disease. And so today we're helping
other nations to buy drugs -- this is one of the focuses of Randy and Joe --
so that we can extend lives. Because, you see, every life matters to the
Author of life, and so they matter to us.

Today, I announce a second round of funding in the Emergency Plan
for AIDS Relief. More than $500 million will be soon on its way. Congress
needs to release the money. (Applause.) These grants will provide more
antiretroviral treatments and promote prevention efforts, care for children
who lost their parents to AIDS -- there's a lot of orphans around the
continent of Africa. You've got 14- and 15-year-old kids raising their
brothers and sisters. So part of the effort is to provide love and hope for
these brave young kids who have been handed an incredibly tough burden, an
awesome burden.

We want to help build and equip hospitals and clinics. In other
words, we want the infrastructure to be there. Part of the money goes to
make sure there's an infrastructure. I mean, we really don't care here in
America if it takes a bicycle or a moped to get antiretrovirals out of these
big cities, but that's what we're going to do. And part of the challenge we
face is to help poor countries have the capacity to absorb the drugs and
compassion of America. That's one of our challenges.

I want to thank the Congress, again, and the taxpayer, for their
generosity. This is a vital initiative. Let's make sure the resources keep
coming on a timely basis.

Today, I'm also announcing that we're adding Vietnam to the
emergency plan. In other words, we have 14 countries; we're adding a 15th
country. Now, after a long analysis by our staff, we believe that Vietnam
deserves this special help. We're putting a history of bitterness behind us
with Vietnam. The reason why -- (applause) -- the reason why the decision
was made is because the nation has experienced a rapid rise in HIV
infections -- a rapid rise -- especially among the young.

And Vietnam is cooperative and wants help. In other words, they
recognize they have a problem -- which, by the way, is an important part of
battling the pandemic. People have got to say, I've got a problem, come and
help us. It's hard in certain countries that people say, we don't have a
problem, you know, in denial. In the meantime, people are dying. Part of
diplomacy, by the way, good diplomacy says to leaders, I think you need to
listen to the truth, and the truth will set you free and help people

And so, therefore, we're sending up to the Congress a notification
that Vietnam is now going to receive -- be a part of the 15 -- now 15 nation
focus, and want the Vietnamese to hear, together we'll fight the disease.
You've got a friend in America. (Applause.)

We will continue to confront the disease abroad, and we will
confront it here at home, as well. I want our fellow citizens to understand
that we can -- we can work in Africa, and we can work in America at the same
time. We've got plenty of capacity. (Applause.) These efforts are not
mutually exclusive, they're complementary, they're complementary.

The number of women diagnosed with AIDS has risen in America. That
is a fact. For African Americans between the ages of 25 and 44, the prime
of life, AIDS is the second leading cause of death. We've got to deal with
it here at home, as well. (Applause.)

AIDS is finding more victims beyond our cities. AIDS victims now
are in our suburbs and in the rural heartland. Neither individuals, nor
society, nor government can afford to be complacent, and we will not relent
against the battle of AIDS here in America. My latest budget commits more
than $17 billion to prevent and treat AIDS in America, and to find a cure.
This is a 27-percent increase from the budgets of 2001. (Applause.)

It's one thing to spend money, it's another thing to spend it
wisely. And so today I want to talk about a three-part strategy to make
sure that we're effective here at home. First, we will provide better care
and treatment to those suffering from HIV and AIDS, better treatment and
care. We will act as quickly as possible to get lifesaving drugs to people
with the greatest need.

In 10 states, hundreds of AIDS patients are waiting for access to
life-extending treatments. In other words, there's long lines. Some of
these people have been waiting for months. That seems like a problem that
we can deal with, Tommy. And we're prepared to help deal with it. So we're
going to provide $20 million, effective today, to extend lifesaving drugs --
(applause) -- the purpose of which is to deliver lifesaving drugs to the men
and women who are waiting. In other words, there shouldn't be lines here.
And we're going to deal with the lines.

We will also get help to those who need it by making sure that the
federal programs are focused on saving lives. Our nation's most important
AIDS legislation, the Ryan White Care Act, has done a lot of good, a lot of
good over the years, by funding groups that provide care and services to
AIDS patients. Yet the law was written more than a decade ago, when those
with AIDS had little hope. So the law is concerned largely with caring for
the sick and dying, instead of helping AIDS patients to lead longer and
healthier lives. In other words, there's a different focus now because
things have changed, technology has changed, medicines are changing how
people can live with AIDS.

When the Ryan White Care Act is reauthorized next year, I propose to
make it stronger and more effective by focusing resources on life-extending
care, such as antiretroviral drugs and doctor visits and lab tests. This
kind of care was just a dream 20 years ago. It is a reality today. And we
will work with Congress to make sure that as many patients as possible are
receiving the modern care they deserve. (Applause.)

We need to change the way that money under the Ryan White Care Act
is provided to care-givers and states and communities. Today, funding
decisions are made according to a rigid geographical formula that takes too
little account of the most urgent needs. In other words, you can't set
priorities -- that's what that means.

In some areas of the country -- countries, (sic) there are more
severe cases. There are particular problems among minority women. There
are fewer resources to handle its case load. In those cases, Tommy
Thompson, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, should have the
flexibility to cut through the red tape and get the money quickly to where
it is needed. That's what we're going to propose to the Congress. Let us
set priorities and make sure the resources fund those priorities. That
makes sense, with taxpayers' money, it seems like to me. We must hold
accountable organizations that receive federal help to fight AIDS by keeping
track of their progress. People shouldn't fear that. They ought to -- say,
are you doing the job? Are lives being saved? Are your lines too long? If
they are, why? Are you getting out the word? Are you doing what we asked?
You see, we're interested in the people's lives, not the bureaucratic

We must be sure that any organization that is effective in AIDS is
eligible for federal help, by the way -- effective in fighting AIDS is
eligible for help. And that includes faith-based groups. See, there are --
(applause.) The faith-based groups are making a huge difference on the
continent of Africa; they need to be making a huge difference here at home,
as well. (Applause.)

For many AIDS patients, especially those who live in low-income
areas or rural areas, a local church program or community health center is
their only source for treatment and support. And to be frank about it, the
church is the only place many people feel comfortable going to share their
burdens. Sometimes, they don't feel so comfortable sharing their burdens in
a church. And when that's the case, the church needs to make sure people do
feel comfortable in sharing the burden. But, nevertheless -- (applause.)
The way I like to put it is, faith-based programs deserve the support of our
government when they're effective, not to be discriminated against. People
shouldn't fear the fact if there's a cross on the wall and an AIDS program
in that building. We ought to welcome that. We ought not to fear the Star
of David on a wall and an AIDS program ensconced in the building. We ought
to welcome it, because the motivation by the people of faith is a motivation
to help heal the hurt. (Applause.)

The second part of a domestic strategy to fight AIDS is prevention.
I think it's really important for us to focus on prevention. We can learn
from the experiences of other countries when it comes to a good program to
prevent the spread of AIDS, like the nation of Uganda. They've started what
they call the A-B-C approach to prevention of this deadly disease. That
stands for: Abstain, be faithful in marriage, and, when appropriate, use
condoms. That's what A-B-C stands for. And it's working. I like to call
it a practical, balanced and moral message. I say it's working because
Uganda has cut its AIDS infection rate to 5 percent over 10 years.
Prevention works. (Applause.)

I think our country needs a practical, effective, moral message. In
addition to other kinds of prevention, we need to tell our children that
abstinence is the only certain way to avoid contacting HIV. (Applause.) It
works every time. Children have a way of living up or down to our
expectations. If we want them to lead healthy and responsible lives, we
must ask them to lead healthy and responsible lives. (Applause.)

This message, I know, is the primary duty of moms and dads. It's
not the primary duty of the government. I fully recognize that. However,
government can help. That's why I have proposed to double federal funding
for programs that help local groups spread the most effective way to prevent
the spread of AIDS, which is to teach children to make the right choices in
life. (Applause.)

Our national prevention efforts also depend on HIV testing as a
routine part of health care. That makes sense to me, it should to you. I
mean, how can you solve a problem until you diagnose the problem. Roughly,
a quarter of the people with HIV do not know they have it. That makes it
hard to treat people who don't know they have it. They aren't getting the
treatment, of course, and they're unknowingly spreading the majority of new

Testing now is easier than ever. My administration is encouraging
health care providers to test for HIV routinely, to save lives, that's why
we're doing that. Across America, June 27th is National HIV Testing Day.
(Applause.) For the sake of their health and for the sake of the health of
others, I urge all Americans at risk to get the test. You'll be -- by
getting the test, you'll be making a significant contribution to making sure
that we arrest the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Another way to prevent the spread of AIDS is to fight drug
addiction. (Applause.) This is one more aspect -- in other words, the
spread of AIDS through sharing needles is one more aspect of the terrible
grief and destruction that drug abuse causes across America. I proposed to
Congress increased funding for substance abuse treatment by $150 million
next year. The reason I did so is because we've got an issue in America
that we've got to deal with straight up. (Applause.) And I want to make
sure that all treatment providers can utilize this money.

Listen, sometimes programs work, kind of the clinical approach works
to help people kick drugs and alcohol. But a lot of times it requires a
change of heart. If you change your heart, you can change your habits. If
you change your heart, you change your life. (Applause.) And that's why
it's important to make sure the faith community can access federal money to
heal the hurt that drug addiction causes.

All these measures are important and will allow more people with
AIDS to live longer and better lives. Yet, we must, and will, beat this
disease once and for all. So the third element of our strategy to fight
AIDS in America and around the world is to intensify the search for a
vaccine and for a cure. (Applause.)

Just two weeks ago, at the G8 Summit in Sea Island, Georgia, America
joined with Japan and Germany and Great Britain and France and other allies
to establish the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. What that means is we're
going to make a major commitment by the world's best scientists to defeat

By the way, we've got some great scientists here in our own country.
At the NIH, we've got some great scientists who have dedicated a lifetime to
finding the vaccine and a cure. It makes sense to have a collaborative
effort with great scientists from all over the globe. This is a global
problem. So we need to work together and share information.

As part of the effort, the United States will establish a new HIV
Vaccine Research and Development Center. I asked the question to Tommy
whether Dr. Fauci approved of this. He's -- he's one of the leaders in the
world of developing the cure. He said, he's strongly in favor. I said, if
Fauci is for it, I'm for it. The guy knows what he's doing. He's dedicated
a lifetime, as has other scientists here in America, to finding the cure.

Congress -- as we find the cure, it's very important for Congress to
allow for the acceleration of new vaccines by not allowing frivolous and
junk lawsuits to stand in the way of progress. It's very important --
(applause) -- it's very important that those who are developing vaccines in
the private sector not be harassed and/or stopped by these junk lawsuits. I
mean, we've got an emergency that we must deal with. And therefore, the
faster a vaccine can be developed and get to market, the more lives will be

I think the road ahead is clear. I don't think there's any doubt of
where we have to go. We're going to provide better care and treatment to
ease the suffering of the sick. We will strengthen our prevention efforts.
And through focused research, we will create a vaccine and find a cure.
There's no doubt in my mind.

Around the world, AIDS remains a source of great suffering. It's
important for our fellow countrymen to remember. And we have an obligation
to work to relieve the suffering, and we will.

But there's great hope and courage, and that's what really should
sustain our fellow citizens, to hear the stories of hope and courage. This
morning, I met a very brave, smart, capable woman from Philadelphia. She
learned 13 years ago that she was HIV-positive. Doctors gave her two years
to live. She described to us what it was like to be a mom of two, and have
a doctor say, you've got two years to live.

She felt lost, and then was found at Silloam Ministries, the
Director of which is here, Jim Sheehan. I'm proud you're here. Thanks for
coming. (Applause.) He runs this program which is what he would describe
as a spiritually-based program, a program to help elevate the spirit, to
make sure people who are despondent and hopeless recognize there is a strong
spirit inside them, and then nurture that spirit.

It's -- it is what sustained this brave soul who was told, you've
only got two years to live. In other words, she described what it was like
to be in a spiritually-based program, how uplifting it was. Today, she's
working for her bachelor's degree. (Applause.)
What she shared with us is that she found there to be a dearth of
counselors, those people -- there weren't enough loving souls willing to
help somebody else realize that they've got a hopeful future. So that's why
she's going back to school. It's an amazing story, you see, somebody who
was -- say you'll die in two years, now is saving lives. And that's what --
(applause.) But let me put it in her words: "The doctor gave me two years
to live, and now it's been 13. So I'm supposed to be here. I am supposed
to be doing something with this."

And what she's doing with this, she's using her intellect and her
love to help somebody else realize that they are supposed to be here. She
is -- she's doing something beautiful, and she has shown that with hope,
life can triumph. And that sustains us. That sustains us in doing our duty
here in America and across the world, because we want hope to triumph for

I want to thank you for giving me a chance to come by and visit with
you today. Thank you for your love and compassion. May God bless you all,
and may God continue to bless our country. Thank you very much.

END 11:23 A.M. EDT
SOURCE White House Press Office
Web Site:

Background Briefing on the President's Pending HIV/AIDS Relief Announcements Via Conference Call By Senior Administration Officials

WASHINGTON, June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a background briefing
on the President's pending HIV/AIDS relief announcements:

5:05 P.M. EDT

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thank you. Thanks everybody for joining
us this afternoon. This is the conference call on the President's HIV/AIDS
plan, both internationally and domestically, he'll be providing in a speech
We have three senior administration officials with us today. This will be
a background briefing, and the senior administration officials should be
referenced as such. So I'll just turn it over to my colleague. We'll each
make quick opening remarks, and then turn it over to your questions.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Good afternoon. The President will
deliver remarks tomorrow in Philadelphia at the Greater Exodus Baptist Church
on the importance of fighting HIV/AIDS both globally and here at home. In
2003, the President announced the emergency plan for AIDS relief and committed
$15 billion over five years to treat 2 million HIV-infected people, prevent 7
million infections, and care for 10 million individuals. We remain on track to
meet the President's commitment, and within this first year of implementation,
expect to provide care and support to approximately 1.1 million people, and
antiretroviral treatment to approximately 200,000.
The President will make two announcements tomorrow regarding the emergency
plan. The President will also outline his strategy for fighting AIDS here at
home. For African Americans aged 25 through 44, HIV is now the second-leading
cause of death. The President's '05 budget would support $17.1 billion in
domestic spending on research, care, prevention, and treatment, which is a 27
percent increase over '01 funding. He has also supported increases in other
AIDS-related programs, including substance abuse treatment and community
health centers. However, he believes there's more to do. And tomorrow he'll
lay out proposals related to domestic programs, including reauthorization of
the Ryan White Care Act.
Finally, the President will talk about the importance of medical research
in preventing, treating, and some day curing this disease. His '05 budget for
the National Institutes of Health request $2.8 billion for AIDS research,
which is a $586 million, or a 26 percent increase over '01 funding, including
$530 million for vaccine development.
HHS recently announced a new initiative to feed approvals of advanced
antiretroviral drugs. And tomorrow, the President will discuss steps to
encourage vaccine research. And with that, I'll turn it over to a senior
administration official to discuss the emergency plan.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: As my colleague reminded you, in his 2003
State of the Union Address, the President launched the emergency plan for AIDS
relief. An important element of that plan was to provide strategic focus to
14 countries -- 12 in Africa and two in the Caribbean -- that account for
about 50 percent of the infections in the world.
Earlier this year, Congress directed that we select a 15th country,
somewhere other than Africa and the Caribbean, and the President will announce
tomorrow that that 15th country will be Vietnam. The administration considers
that Vietnam is a place where the American people's money can really make a
tremendous impact because it is on the brink of a very explosive epidemic.
Vietnam currently has 130,000 persons living with AIDS, but it is predicted
that that could increase to as many as a million people by 2010. And if that
happens, the magnitude of that increase will be eight times the current number
of people infected. And that is, in fact, a greater increase, a greater
multiplier than India or Russia or China in that same period, which are three
of the countries that have been referred to as the "next wave" countries.
Vietnam is a relatively large country with a population of over 80 million
people. And in fact, as it joins the focus countries, the 15 now focus
countries, it becomes the second largest focus country in the group. We also
believe that U.S. intervention is very timely because up to this point, the
epidemic has largely been concentrated in intravenous drug users and
commercial sex workers, but it is now spreading into the general population.
It is present in all 61 provinces, and the data suggests that about 80 percent
of all new infections are being sexually transmitted.
Vietnam did a very good job of dealing with SARS. And we're confident
that we can work effectively with nongovernment organizations and with the
coordination and help of the Ministry of Health in Vietnam in addressing this
On another matter, the President will also announce tomorrow that we are
prepared to soon release $500 million in additional funding, which when added
to the $350 million we released in February, will bring to $850 million the
amount of money that the emergency plan has released for use in the focus
countries so far this year.
We have notified Congress, as we are required to do, about our intent with
the $500 million. They are reviewing that now. And as soon as they are
prepared to release the funds, then those funds will begin to go to work to
help the people involved. So those are the two announcements that the
President will be making tomorrow about the emergency plan.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: On the domestic front, as stated before,
the President will be making comments regarding care and treatment, prevention
and vaccine research. The President will be discussing that he's committed to
re-authorizing the Ryan White Care Act, which is up for reauthorization in the
fall of 2005. And there are three guiding principles that the President will
pursue in reauthorization. The first is to focus federal resources to ensure
that life-saving AIDS medications and care are available to those who cannot
provide for themselves. Second, to provide more flexibility in the targeting
of funds to ensure that they are provided to communities that need them. And
third, to ensure accountability by measuring results and encouraging
participation of any provider who can show those results.
Another key piece in the message tomorrow will be that the President
recognizes the dire need to promote prevention using proven methods. These
include emphasizing abstinence for young people through the ABC model.
Abstinence is the only sure way to prevent sexual transmission of AIDS and
other sexually transmitted diseases, and to encourage testing.
Approximately 40,000 Americans continue to become infected every year in
this country. The President wants anyone who is at risk to get tested. That's
the only way we're going to be able to control and arrest this epidemic is by
having people recognize that they are infected. Knowing your status is
important. And we need to highlight that National Testing Day will be on June
27th. It has been made easier than ever as the FDA has facilitated quick
approval of a non-invasive, rapid HIV test.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The President will also discuss the
importance of research related to fighting HIV/AIDS. FDA recently announced
an initiative to rapidly review the safety of those brand name and generic
drugs. This new procedure will allow the emergency plan and other AIDS
programs to purchase drugs -- low cost and high quality drugs -- with
assurances of their safety.

In addition, the President recently at the G8 announced a proposal for a
global vaccine enterprise, which will help bring some strategic vision to
development of a vaccine. And tomorrow, he'll talk about the importance of
pursuing those efforts.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: And with that, we'll take your questions.

Q Yes, I wanted to ask about the decision to select Vietnam instead of
India, for example. A number of people, as you suggested, have been pressing
for India, which is a higher infection rate. The numbers are much greater in
India. And there have been some suggestions from some on the Hill that this
is politically motivated as appealing to the Vietnamese community. I'm
wondering if you can go over in detail why Vietnam over India?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, the reason that we chose Vietnam is
that Vietnam is the place where we believe we can address our money and our
attention and really make the greatest impact. And it's very timely because
the epidemic in Vietnam is about to go more broadly into the general
population, whereas it has been concentrated largely among commercial sex
workers and intravenous drug users.
The multiplier effect of looking at the number of people who are infected
in Vietnam today, about 130,000 versus the estimate in 2010, is eight times.
So we're talking really about explosive growth in a part of the world that
will have a tremendous impact not only on Asia and Southeast Asia, but
potentially on the rest of the world. That compares with a three times
increase in that same period in India, a four times increase in Russia, and a
seven and a half times increase in China -- all of which are very, very big
India was certainly a place that we considered, but one other factor I
think that was something that we considered was the degree of commitment that
existed in Vietnam today where Vietnam is spending about $36 per person
infected with AIDS, as compared to India that's spending about $6 per person
infected with AIDS. India is a somewhat different country than all of the
other countries in the plan in that they have a growing middle class. They
have a growing economy, and they really have the ability to make some trade-
off decisions themselves to prioritize more resources in this direction.
This was not an easy call. There are a number of countries in the world
that would be very good candidates. But in the end, we concluded that Vietnam
was really the best choice.
I might just add one additional point and that is that our commitment in
India currently is over $20 million. It is the largest of our non-focus
countries. And so we're already doing a great deal in India, and I would
expect in the years ahead we will continue that and probably increase it.

Q I'd just like to follow up on that. So this has nothing to do with
India's role in making generic drugs, which some people have made that

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Our policy from the very beginning of the
emergency plan, which we have clearly stated over and over is that we will buy
the least expensive drugs we can find without regard to the country of origin,
without regard to who manufactures them, without regard to whether they're
brand name or copies or generics, as long as we can be assured that they're
safe and effective, so with the new program that the FDA has put in place for
very accelerated review of AIDS drugs, and the decision we've made in my
office that if the FDA, in fact, provides tentative approval of any drug for
which the manufacturer applies for approval, then that drug will be eligible
for funding. And we have been in contact, as a matter of fact, with a couple
of the major manufacturers in India, encouraging them to apply for this
accelerated approval. We hope that virtually any company in the world that's
manufacturing AIDS drugs will, in fact, apply for this FDA review.

Q This thing again on the question of why not India, there were
reports also that Indian officials themselves had done some heavy lobbying to
persuade people not to name them the 15th country because India, in the view
of some -- first of all, Indian officials have -- some of them are said to be
in a state of denial about the degree of the problem in India. What's more,
they did not want the stigma of being a country heavily infected with AIDS to
be further ratified by being named a focus country. Would you comment on that?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, not only did the drug issue not
have anything to do with this decision, that's the first time I've heard of
that really one way or the other. So that had nothing to do with this
decision either.

Q So you never had any indication from Indian officials that they
would prefer not to be named a focus country?


Q I want to just talk about the $500 million and correct some numbers
here. You said $500 million in additional funding added to how many million?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: In February, we announced $350 million in
the first round of funding that was going out to various organizations that
are helping us implement the program the 14 focus countries.
We have notified the Congress of our readiness to expend another $500
million. Congress is reviewing that at the moment. When that money goes out,
that will be a total of about $850. It's actually a little over $500 million.
So that will bring the total to $850 million. And that takes us totally on
track with our objectives for the funding that's available this fiscal year.

Q And what is that $500 million going to?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, this will go to a variety of
programs in the 14, now 15 focus countries -- on prevention programs,
treatment programs, and care programs. So this will be funding, in some
cases, the building up of both human and physical infrastructure for providing
treatment. In some cases, it will be paying for the acquisition of
antiretroviral drugs. And we expect to have about 200,000 people in this
program who will be on treatment by the end of the first year. Some of the
money will be going to prevention programs. Some of the money will be going
to care programs -- palliative care for people who are in the last stages of
life, and care programs to take care of the literally thousands -- tens of
thousands -- hundreds of thousands of orphans that have been created as a
result of this. So it's across this broad range of the President's objectives
of prevention, treatment and care.

Q And I just can't remember the number off the top of my head.
President Bush had dedicated -- was it $10 billion, $15 billion?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: In the total program, the President has
dedicated $15 billion over five years.

Q Over five years. And so out of $15 billion in five years, we've
only put out $850 million. But that still keeps us on track?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, actually this year we will spend $2.4
billion. The $850 million we're talking about is that portion of this year's
$2.4 billion expenditure that is dedicated to new programs, or to increasing
existing programs in the 14 focus countries. We will provide funding -- about
$500 million in funding to bilateral programs in a number of other countries,
money for research, money for the global fund. And all of those things taken
together total $2.4 billion. And we will expend that entire amount this year.

Q Thank you.

Q I have two quick questions. One is, is this going to be a
traditional speech? Or is this going to be one of the President's forums like

he's done with other people? The other question is, is this information
embargoed, or is this information for publication now?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: One, it's remarks. It's not a
conversation. And, two, it's not embargoed.

Q It's not embargoed, okay.


Q All right.

Q This is sort of along the lines of the earlier questions about why
not India. I'm told that Cambodia has about 10 times more AIDS cases, or HIV
infections as Vietnam. So I wondered what tipped the balance to Vietnam
rather than Cambodia? And secondly, I don't understand enough about the
process to know how the monies get allocated. But I wonder if there's any way
you could suggest how much money this might -- what the range of money might
be that Vietnam would get as a result of this designation?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, first of all, with respect to
Cambodia, Cambodia is one of the countries that we looked at. And Cambodia
has made a great deal of progress in bringing their infection rate down
through their own initiative and funding that has been received from other
And so we really thought we could make a bigger impact in Vietnam, which
was the reason that we went to Vietnam. Our estimate is that in this first
year, we will probably be spending something in the range of $8 million to $10
million in Vietnam. But that will very much depend on our ability to work our
arrangements with organizations that we will be working with in Vietnam. And
then in the following years, Vietnam will become just like the other 15
countries. And so we will look at a variety of factors, including the
capacity of the country to absorb the money, and how much money we really
think we can effectively put to use. So I couldn't make a more specific
estimate than that in terms of the amount.

Q When you were mentioning the domestic funds in the President's
comments, could you just go over again what the three guiding principles you
said that he was going to have in the speech?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Certainly, one is to focus federal
resources to ensure that lifesaving HIV-related medications and care are
available to those who can't provide them for themselves; two, to provide more
flexibility in the targeting of funds within the Ryan White Care Act to ensure
that they can be provided to communities who need them the most; and third is
to ensure accountability by measuring results and encouraging participation of
any provider, including any faith-based provider who can show those results.

Q I was wondering if you could talk for a moment about whether the
generic manufacturers in India whom you spoke with responded to your
suggestion that they seek approval in the U.S. for their medicines? And
secondly, could you talk about whether prevention efforts in the focus
countries would include efforts that go beyond abstinence?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, with respect to your first
question, I can't answer specifically. I think from the reports I've had from
the people who visited the companies in India, they were very well received.
There were lots of questions and a very positive reaction. But as to whether
or not they specifically plan to apply for a review or when, I don't know. I
certainly want to encourage these companies and every other company that's in
this business to do so.
Secondly, with respect to prevention, the President's program is a balance
ABC program of abstinence, being faithful within a marriage or a committed
relationship, and for those people who chose to engage in risky behavior, the
correct and consistent use of condoms. And our expectation is that that
balanced program of A and B and C is exactly what we're implementing now and
would intend to implement in Vietnam.

Q First of all, going back to the dollar figures here, with this
$800,000, what does that bring the total for the year? Does that bring it
close to the $3 billion-a-year average under the President's $15 billion
initiative? And second, I assume these are senior administration officials.
I just didn't get your names at the beginning.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: They are senior administration officials.
I'll go back and recap who they are at the end for everybody who got on late.
The dollars that we have talked about for this year, in February, the
emergency plan funded plans of $350 million. We have notified the Congress of
our readiness to put out another $500 million or a little more than $500
million. The total of those two would take us to $850 million. And that is
the component of the $2.4 billion in funding for this year for global
HIV/AIDS. That is the component for funding new or expanded prevention
treatment or care programs in the focus countries. So that takes us totally
on target.

Q So right now it's $2.4 billion. But wouldn't the target be $3
billion, though, under five years, $15 billion?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No. I think a lot of people have made
the mistake of taking $15 billion and dividing it by five years and coming up
with three. And in fact, in many of these countries -- I just came back from
Ethiopia, for example, which has a population of about 18 million people and
600 doctors -- in many of these countries, physical infrastructure and human
infrastructure has to be put in place, which is what we're helping to do
before we can really expand a lot of these programs.
But we can more effectively use the money if it is rolled out in
increasing amounts over the five years. The President's request for fiscal
year 2005 is $2.8 billion, and it will increase obviously from there so that
at the end of the five years, if you add the five years together, it's our
expectation it will total $15 billion.

Q I was just curious since the announcement last month of the new
approval process to try to quicken and make these drugs safe and effective,
where does that stand now? Have you had many companies apply to go through
this yet? Or are you getting some resistance from those who say we don't want
to go through this process and the WHO process together?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So far the process has been very well
received. There are a number of companies that have announced that they're
working to put together proposals. And we expect applications to come in, in
the near future.

Q A couple quick questions. Maybe this is my ignorance of budgeting,
but why was the $500 million not included in the original budget request for
this year? And the second question is, you mentioned condoms, does the
program include distribution of condoms? And will that happen in Vietnam?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The answer to your second question is yes
and yes.
With respect to the $500 million, there was an appropriation of $2.4
billion. And this $500 million is included in that appropriation. What's
happening now is that we have identified specific programs to fund in the
focus countries. And we have now -- under the rules that are in place -- we
have notified the Congress of the specific details of those programs that we
wish to fund. And after the Congress has had an opportunity to look at that
and provide some guidance, then we expect that that $500 million will be going
out the door and into funding these programs.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Okay, thanks again for joining us.

END 5:34 P.M. EDT

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

It was thirty-five years ago today that the world lost Frances Gumm, from an accidental overdose of sleeping pills.

Judy Garland, the entertainer of the century, could do it all.

She sang like nobody else, possessed comedic and dramatic talents, danced with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, and did so while still relatively young.

Her untimely death in London is widely credited as a contributing factor leading up to the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village.

Judy died on June 22, 1969, and the queers acted up at the Christopher Street bar on June 27, which just happens to be the date of this year's GLBT pride parades in New York and San Francisco.

Between today and Sunday, please find a way to honor this incredible woman, the likes of whom the world will never see again.

Get out the Judy CDs, play them at top volume. Put one of her movies on the DVD player. Invite friends and family members over to pay homage to Judy, her talents and her life. (Just avoid the pills and booze, okay?)

And for those of you who either personally knew and loved gay film critic and Judy fan Vito Russo, author of the "Celluloid Closet," or were acquainted with him only through his activism and criticism, also give a cheer for Russo and our memories of him when you listen to or watch Judy this week.

Michael Petrelis
A Friend of Dorothy's

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Forwarded Message:

Subj: What have you done?
Date: 6/17/2004 3:21:35 PM Central Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Hi Michael,

In an e-mail you state:
"Now come this story about Evertz making a donation to the Stop AIDS
Project. Perhaps he needs to be reminded the agency's programs have done
little to reverse San Francisco's sub-Saharan levels of new HIV
transmissions, an exploding syphilis epidemic and increases of other STDs."
You too are in San Francisco, correct? Can you tell me what you have done
to "reverse San Francisco's sub-Saharan levels of new HIV transmissions, an
exploding syphilis epidemic and increases of other STDs?"
Thank you,

Scott H. Evertz
Special Assistant to the Secretary for Global HIV/AIDS Initiatives
Office of the Secretary
Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
- - -

Dear Mr. Evertz:

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns.

Regarding the matter of what I've done to prevent HIV and STDs among sexually active gay men, I wish to bring two things to your attention.

First of all, when I learned about the Reality polyurethane pouch, sold as a female vaginal condom, which can also be used for anal sex, I used and publicized Reality as a device for gay men to use as a way of halting HIV transmission.

Second, in 1997, I led the effort to persuade the San Francisco Department of Public Health to distribute penile condoms to all of the gay bars.

But don't take my word for it. Read the excerpts below from a 1996 Bay Area Reporter story about my efforts regarding Reality, and a 1997 press release from the Stop AIDS Project about putting penile condoms in gay venues. [1, 2]

Finally, while I have never served as an AIDS czar, or czarina, I have been known to wear a tiara during my drag queen days.

Michael Petrelis


Bay Area Reporter, February 29, 1996

San Francisco AIDS activists Michael Petrelis became the first male to ask for the internal condoms at the city health clinics, which lead to a brief inquiry by the city's Human Rights Commission into whether the refusal to his request constituted sex discrimination, before the policy was changed.

Petrelis said he is outraged that the federal government stopped progress on the Aegis because of homophobia, and also derided health officials for not fully investigating the Reality, which he blamed on "the de-gaying of AIDS" and homophobia.

"According to the most recent annual report put out by the San Francisco AIDS Office (in 1991-92) people with AIDS in this city are 98 percent male," he said in a recent interview. "Eighty-six percent of them got it through male-male sex - and there's this wonderful thing out there that can save lives, but because they're called `female condoms' even out gay public health officials don't know what they are, or that they've already been studied for anal sex."

Next, he said, he may file a class action lawsuit to make the internal condoms available to men statewide.

"How many gay people must contract HIV/AIDS through anal sex," he asked, "before the authorities think we can handle Reality?"




For Immediate Release: Contacts: 415.621.7177
Friday, November 7, 1997 Steven Gibson, x.258
Robert A. Pérez, x.236

C O N D O M S N O W ! !

STOP AIDS Distributes Over 150,000 Condom in First 6 Weeks of New Program;
Gay & Bi Men Are Snatching Them Up Left & Right at Their Favorite Bars &

San Francisco -- In just six weeks, the STOP AIDS Project has successfully
distributed over 150,000 condoms to 71 bars, clubs and retail stores as a
part of its new program to offer free condoms year round to gay and bisexual
men. Gay and bi men are eagerly helping themselves to the free condoms. The
new program represents one of the most successful collaborations to date
between businesses and a community based organization.

Michael Petrelis, one of the community activists who led the effort to get
condoms into the bars, applauded the success of the program and called for
its continued funding.

"I hope the AIDS Office will permanently fund this necessary project. I
applaud the collaboration between the STOP AIDS Project and the bar owners.
Condoms in the bars remind all of us that sex is good and that the AIDS
crisis is not over," said Michael Petrelis, a member of ACT UP Golden Gate.


Monday, June 14, 2004

Forwarded Message:
Subj: A request for help from France on HIV prevention info
Date: 6/14/2004 2:30:23 AM Central Daylight Time
Reply-to: aidsact@CritPath.Org
To: aidsact@CritPath.Org
Sent from the Internet (Details)

The following request for help is from Olivier Jablonski, coordinator of the
newly-launched French HIV-prevention group WARNING. Olivier wants to get in
touch with medical and AIDS professionals and epidemiologists who have
studied in depth the effect of various forms of risk reduction in sexual
practices other than the condom (the use of gels, to take one example).on
reducing the spread of the HIV virus. He'd also like to know whether there
have been any studies of the ratio between the number of non-protected
sexual encounters and the chances of HIV infection. The French are currently
in the throes of a major debate about the increasingly widespread practice
of barebacking, which has produced a new upsurge in infection rates. the
WARNING group is militantly in favor of condoms, and quite critical of the
largest ASO, AIDES, which has been suggesting that there are AIDS-prevention
methods which stop short of condom use that are efficient.
If you have any ideas, documents, or contacts to propose to help our French
friends, would you be good enough to send them (in English is okay) to
Olivier Jablonski at:
Thanks, D.I.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Olivier Jablonski"
To: "Doug Ireland"
Sent: Sunday, June 13, 2004 11:47 PM
Subject: demande


Comment vas-tu? Moi, je ne dors pas donc je réfléchie. Je suis en train
d'étudier les conséquences de la nouvelle politique de prévention VIH que
propose l'association français AIDES. Il s'agît de réduction des risques,
du genre, si tu ne mets pas de capote, mets au moins du gel. Je crois
qu'on en a déjà parlé.

Je cherche à entrer en contact avec des épidémiologues qui auraient
réfléchi sur l'épidémie de sida et son évolution chez les gays. Et qui
auraient étudier les différents sénarios d'évolution de cette épidémie en
fonction du type de prévention conseillé, ou en fonction du nombre de
rapport non protégés, de la prévalence du VIH dans la population gay. Si
tu as des idées, fais-moi signe.


Forwarded Message:
Subj: Didier Lestrade, the founder, disavows Act Up-Paris
Date: 6/14/2004 9:18:13 AM Central Daylight Time
Reply-to: aidsact@CritPath.Org
To: aidsact@CritPath.Org
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Press release - june 14 2004 (Paris - France)

Act Up-Paris is fifteen years old.
The founder, Didier Lestrade, disavows Act Up-Paris

Act Up-Paris, was founded by Luc Coulavin, Pascal Loubet and Didier
Lestrade fifteen years ago. This month, Act Up saw fit to celebrate
this anniversary. In this press release, I want to explain why I
completely disavow this association. I am resigning from forever. I am
no longer a member. I am cutting all ties with this association, to
which I have dedicated fifteen of the most passionate years of my life.
I am not doing so with a light heart. I have never threatened to do so.
I am not particularly seeking a media sensation. If this information
is diffused by the media, that's not my responsibility.

But I am obliged in all honesty to stop giving my support to the
decline, the bad management, the imbecility and the lack of courage of
this association. For the last eight years I have been trying to make
Act Up understand that it has to get more involved in prevention. I have
failed and my many friends have also failed. I am publicly repudiating
Act Up because I have nothing to hide, because I want to make it known
that this association is no longer doing its job. Worst, it is now
implicated in the poor "management" of the AIDS epidemic in France.

Act Up deals with everything, therefore Act Up deals with NOTHING.
Act Up has not properly assessed the revival of the AIDS epidemic among
Act Up has allowed the phenomenon of barebacking develop and grow in France.
Act Up has put up with the scandalous delay by the Institut National de
Veille Sanitaire in releasing the figures of the "Compulsory Declaration
of Seropositivity" (several of its members participate in the meetings
of the INVS).
Act Up launched an appeal for donations in November 2003, alerting
public opinion to its financial crisis. At the extraordinary General
Assembly of March 2004, the executive committee explained that there was
in fact no financial crisis.
Act Up is hiding the truth from its members by not distributing the
complete minutes of its meetings (for example, the minutes of the
General Assembly, the scene of major confrontations, have still not been
drawn up).
Act Up is now run by the most inefficient executive committee in its
history. For the third time in a row, the president of the association
is seronegative, and it shows.
Act Up contacts the media through ridiculous press releases, parodies of
the frank and honest activist spirit of its early days.
Act Up has not managed to reach an agreement with the association Aides
on a common discourse of prevention.
Act Up has agreed in principle to accept paid ads by the Le Dépôt sex
club in its militant publication Action.
Act Up does not have the courage to out gay politicians who should be.
Act Up criticizes others, but cannot take a critical look at itself.
Act Up has elected as treasurer Eve Plenel, the daughter of the
journalist Edwy Plenel of the Monde newspaper.
Act Up no longer attracts more than thirty people to its weekly meetings.
Act Up is no longer a homosexual association.
Act Up has lost its leadership in the issue of generic drugs.
Act Up is too close to the review Vacarme.
Act Up should make better use of its money.
Act Up has lost its sense of priorities.
Act Up has lost touch with its base.
Act Up no longer interests anybody.
Act Up has lost its intelligence.
Act Up is no longer even funny.
Act Up no longer has any ideas.

Act Up believes itself to be exemplary.
Act Up no longer is.

Didier Lestrade

Warning is the new groups of gays who do not like AIDS.