Merrian Brooks, DO
Hundreds of people from many AIDS activist groups joined together on Wednesday to demand sound policies and greater funding for HIV. The group marched 12 blocks, first stopping at the EU building, demanding that the EU stop endorsement trade agreements that support big pharmaceutical companies and result in HIV medicines being more expensive than they could be given generic more open generic competition. Next the rally stopped in front of a NYC gym where Mayor Bloomberg was exercising and demanded that he maintain funding for housing programs that people living with HIV desperately need. Finally, the march ended with a rally outside of the UN building where the coalition made its demands and raised awareness about pressing issues.
One issue brought up, by many of the speakers at the rally is the growing very disturbing trend of treating people with HIV as biological weapons. One case mentioned, was of a man who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for spitting on a police officer a normally minor offense, unless you have HIV. Given that one needs gallons of saliva to transmit HIV to another person, the harshness of this sentence is difficult to justify. The speakers asked citizens and leadership to be aware of these policies and to block them whenever they can.