Truthout: Dems Fumbled
AIDS Drug Crisis Before GOP Win
Earlier today I swallowed my first cocktail of the day comprised of Combivir, Intelence, Isentress, Acyclovir, Pravachol, aspirin, a multivitamin, and B-complex, vitamin D and milk thistle gel caps. Tomorrow morning's version will include a dose of Septra, part of my thrice-weekly dosage for that pneumonia-preventing drug. Staying healthy and alive requires that mix of drugs, and other life-sustaining elements, but here in America thousands of other people with AIDS are on waiting lists for a steady stream of the meds.
I want every HIV poz person and PWA who needs the AIDS drugs to have them without interruption.
This brings me to a story that went up at Truthout yesterday, about the outrageous continuing problem of the unhealthy and potentially deadly waiting lists for some PWAs, that looks at the DC politics at play in the AIDS drug crisis:
[Longtime black gay AIDS executive director Phill] Wilson did not mention [in a recent post-election analysis] that activists have targeted Pelosi with protests for months as HIV/AIDS patients were put on waiting lists to receive free drugs. [...]
"There is no real funding, no real leadership from President Obama, House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid on this," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), "The administration spends more in two hours on the war in Afghanistan than it spends on the AIDS drug crisis that is killing Americans here at home." [Emphasis added.] [...]
We need to get a few things out of the way regarding Weinstein, especially because I'm such a stern critic of other AIDS Inc executives, and there needs to be some sunshine brought to bear on him and his org, starting with they don't post their IRS 990s on their site. AHF does share six annual reports, earning them a sunshine credit, but the 990s are nowhere to be found.
At Guide Star, three 990s are posted, and only up to 2008. For that year, AHF's revenue was $72.7 million and CEO Weinstein earned $350,454. That is one super-duper budget, but then again AHF has clinics nationwide and around the globe, and Weinstein's salary is quite robust, yet might be seen by some as low given the strong budget numbers.
Weinstein needs to get with meeting what I am now calling the Kendell Standard, so named for Kate Kendell of the National Center for Lesbian Rights who recently agreed, at my urging, to post her org's three most recent IRS 990 filings. To meet the Kendell Standard, AHF must quickly post their new 2009 tax filing, along with at least two additional years' worth, or more, if they so choose as they do with their annual reports. Now, back to the Truthout article.
After months of staging protests in Pelosi's district, which I have praised and blogged on, I'm pleased to see Weinstein keeping up the drumbeat for full funding of ADAP needs, and stepping on Democratic Party toes. Not only that, but he also deserves kudos for putting the AIDS drug crisis in the context of the nation's budget for the war on Afghanistan.
If there's another AIDS Inc executive, or one from Gay Inc, offering up such contextual statements, please lemme know who they are because they need to be singled out for speaking up like this.
Truthout quotes an AIDS lobbyist I've never heard of, but he's critical of the Democrats and praises GOP leaders:
Brandon Macsata, CEO of the ADAP Advocacy Association (AAA+), told Truthout that the additional $25 million is already exhausted, and party politics has kept Congress from putting an end to the waiting lists. [...] Macsata said the Democrats argued for an emergency supplemental, while deficit-weary Republicans wanted to dip into existing funds. [...] But Macsata said its going to take at least $375 million to get ADAP back on track, and allocating money for 2011 does nothing for the current crisis. [...]
I'd respectfully suggest bearing in mind the client list of the Macsata-Kornegay Group in the context of this article, all their political clients appear to be Republican including Sharron Angle who opposed Harry Reid: http://macsata-kornegay.org/clients.htm
According the ADAP Advocacy Association website, "All management functions are provided by The Macsata-Kornegay Group, Inc. The Organizing Committee engaged Brandon M. Macsata, Managing Partner as the CEO of the organization charged with all facets of its administration, funding, management and marketing."
The AIDS drug supply issues are a very tangled web of politics, Big Pharma, AIDS Inc, the bodies of HIV poz folks and PWAs, and huge amounts of money are involved. Let's keep our eyes on the needs of the HIV infected folks first and foremost and solve the ADAP crisis this year.