ACT UP AIDS Protesters Arrested At Occupy Wall Street

NEW YORK — Longtime AIDS activists who have chanted in the streets for a quarter century joined supporters of the much newer Occupy Wall Street movement Wednesday in a march through lower Manhattan to demand better health services.

The protest marked 25 years since ACT UP – the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power – was formed in the same Wall Street neighborhood.

Now, the group is asking government to impose a small tax on each Wall Street trade – a so-called “Robin Hood tax” to finance treatment and services for people with HIV.

“We just want one tiny portion of each penny,” said Sharonann Lynch, an HIV policy adviser to Doctors Without Borders, an international medical humanitarian organization.

New York Stock Exchange workers jeered from the sidewalk as protesters wearing Robin Hood costumes were dragged across the pavement to clear Broadway for the stalled morning rush-hour traffic. The nine who had stood across Broadway, chained to each other, were then handcuffed and loaded into police vans.

Police used metal cutters to remove the chains.

About an hour later, more than 200 activists gathered near City Hall for the march on Wall Street. They were flanked by police in riot gear and on scooters.

ACT UP was founded in March 1987 with hundreds of activists staging a protest in the same area against the high cost and low availability of HIV medications.

Eric Sawyer, a founding member of the group that now includes chapters worldwide, said he and others returned for good reason.

When it comes to AIDS treatment and other services, he said, “big business is not funding anything, but they got the bailout.”

Another longtime ACT UP member, Julie Davids, said it made sense for the organization to march with Occupy supporters.

“ACT UP has always looked at the AIDS crisis through an economic justice lens and has always recognized that obstacles were rooted in greed and the profit motive,” she said.

At another point in the march, protesters dragged couches and chairs into the middle of Broadway, chanting “Housing saves lives!” to draw attention to what they said was the lack of adequate housing assistance available to people with HIV. One protesting woman faced police while sitting on a toilet that was part of the makeshift “home” and its furnishings.

New York City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez, whose district includes upper Manhattan’s largely minority Washington Heights, said HIV patients have been hurt by a reduction of services because of budget cuts.

“We’re asking the mayor and other politicians to be more creative with finances – for instance, by supporting this Wall Street tax,” he said.

Sawyer said supporters of the transaction tax would like to see it implemented both in the United States and abroad – especially on the two biggest stock exchanges, in London and New York – potentially raising billions of dollars over time.

The money could be used for medical and social services for people with HIV and AIDS, as well as help implement universal health care, said Sawyer, who works for UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS, the world body’s main advocate for global action on the epidemic.

ACT UP Protesters Arrested

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Many believe that this number reflects on those who are new to the system.
But in fact theirs 20-40% Who have been apart of ADAPT, but fail to keep with protocol. adherance, compliance with their local providers. which makes them to be withdrwn from the services.

Positive Mind & Body Support Group Network

Needle Exchange Program - FACT OR FICTION towaardsNumber of people on the ADAP waiting list, 3,666

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Number of people on the waiting list for ADAP is 3,666

Needle Exchange Program - FACT OR FICTION towaardsNumber of people on the ADAP waiting list, 3,666

Legislation Watch


By Sue Saltmarsh

Congress is back from a two-week recess and incredibly, they started off by voting not to   repeal subsidies to oil companies, then moved on to defeat the Buffet   Rule bill which would’ve evened out the tax code a bit (the   Buffet Rule is named after billionaire investor Warren Buffet, who   pointed out that he pays a lower income tax rate than his secretary.)   Both the repeal and the Rule were heavily favored by “the American   People,” whom Republicans always like to speak for as demanding whatever   the GOP wants at the moment.

The newest on the quickly dwindling Affordable Care Act—the House Ways and Means Committee has found an easy target in order to meet   its deficit-reduction goal under the Paul Ryan budget: the ACA’s   insurance subsidies. The committee proposes to save $43.9 billion by   requiring people to pay back any excess insurance subsidies they receive   under the health care reform law. Smaller “recapture” efforts have   garnered bipartisan support in the past, but this one goes further,   requiring people to repay the entire amount of overpayments. But who   determines that a subsidy has been too much? What do you want to bet   that someone trying to live on $20,000 a year will be told they need to   pay back that $100 they were “overpaid?” So much for “affordable care.”

Also,   while the 20 million people who are supposed to gain subsidized   coverage on the new insurance exchanges have gotten most of the   attention, the health law also supposedly expands Medicaid and the   Children’s Health Insurance Program to 17 million low-income families   starting in 2014. Medicaid, however, is already straining to care for   the more than 58 million already in the program because it doesn’t pay   doctors enough to participate.

So let’s see—a Supreme Court challenge on constitutionality, continually rising premiums,   co-pays, and deductibles, subsidies to the nation’s poor and “middle”   class that now might have to be paid back, relentless attacks on   Medicare and Medicaid, and now the “doc fix” issue. Seriously, does anyone really believe this thing will ever be implemented?

And   finally, a sad bit of news—New York Democrat Edolphus Towns announced   on April 16 that he would not seek re-election to the House. He would   have been running for his 16th term.

Congressman   Towns was a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and served as   chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee from   2009 to 2011. He was a long-time champion of ending the disparity in   health care, including mental health, among minorities. He was yet   another progressive voice that will be missed, though Democrats are   expected to retain his seat in November.

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HIV Prevention Justice Alliance Joins Caring Across Generations Coalition

The HIV Prevention Justice Alliance is   joining a national coalition of organizations in an effort to ensure   the rights of direct care workers, and that those who receive services   are able to stay in their homes. The new movement, Caring Across Generations,   is made up of organizations advocating for women’s, disability rights,   older adults, workers, community, youth, students and caregivers.

“The   voices, experience, and expertise that the HIV Prevention Justice   Alliance brings are precisely what we need to strengthen the Caring   Across Generations campaign,” said Ai-jen Poo, director of the National   Domestic Workers Alliance and co-director of the Caring Across   Generations coalition. “We have a lot to learn from the years of work to   ensure quality services and care for people living with HIV. We are   thrilled to welcome the Alliance, and look forward to building the   movement we need together.”

“In the HIV/AIDS community, we know   that truly confronting HIV depends on protecting what we have—Medicaid,   Medicare, Social Security, and other programs— and creating what we   need, like a comprehensive system of care for all, to finally break the   back of the epidemic.” said Kiesha McCurtis, co-chair of the HIV   Prevention Justice Alliance (HIV PJA). “We know how to end the epidemic   in this country, if we have the political will and this campaign is part   of the solution.”

Caring Across Generations is introducing   federal legislation to create two million new, quality jobs in home   care; improve access to care and support services; develop career   advancement models and a path to citizenship for domestic and home care   workers; improve and expand Medicare and Medicaid along with a solution   to affordability challenges for those paying out-of-pocket for care.

“People   living with HIV, our families, and loved ones have seen firsthand that   in-home support and services can literally be the difference between   living with dignity and dying before our time,” said Dee Borrego,   co-chair of the Economic Justice Working Group of the HIV PJA. “The   Caring Across Generations campaign brings full-scale solutions to the   crisis in home care, and not a moment too soon.”

HIV Prevention Justice Alliance made the announcement April 17.

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HIV Vaccine Trial Give Clues about Protection from HIV

Researchers have gained important clues about immune system  responses that could play a role in protecting people from HIV infection in  follow-up studies from the world’s largest HIV vaccine trial to date, according  to a report in ScienceDaily on April  4. Results from laboratory studies based on the trial were published in the New England Journal  of Medicine.

The HIV vaccine trial in Thailand, called RV144, showed  that the group receiving the vaccine regimen was estimated to be 31.2% less  likely to be infected than those who didn’t get the vaccine, and researchers  set out to learn why. The current results are based on intensive laboratory  studies of the patient specimens collected in the Thai trial. These studies are  the result of nearly two years of work by more than 100 researchers at 25  institutions, who collaborated to understand how the RV144 vaccine regimen  prevented HIV infection in some vaccine recipients.

Researchers analyzed samples from RV144 trial participants  to look at immune responses in the vaccine recipients. The researchers found  that different types of antibody responses were associated with a higher or  lower rate of HIV infection.

“By studying those who became infected compared to those who  did not, we believe we have found very important clues for how the RV144 trial  might have worked,” said Barton F. Haynes, MD, who led the study and is the  Frederic M. Hanes Professor of Medicine and Immunology at Duke. “The hypothesis  is that protection in the trial was primarily mediated by antibodies. All of  the antibody types studied have been isolated from RV144 vaccinees, and the  antibodies’ protective effect will be tested to see if they prevent acquisition  of infection in non-human primate studies.”

The first finding is that antibodies specific to a  particular region of the HIV envelope (outside coat) protein, called V1V2,  correlated with lower infection rates among those who were vaccinated. The  hypothesis is that when these antibodies bind to the V1V2 region of the outer  coat of the virus, they might help prevent infection.

A second finding indicates that vaccine recipients with the  highest blood levels of a different type of envelope protein binding antibody,  known as IgA, had less protection from HIV than those with low levels. When  compared with the placebo group, there was no difference in the rate of  infection among the vaccinated group with high IgA antibodies and volunteers who  received placebo, so the scientists believe that these IgA antibodies may have  interfered with other vaccine-induced protective responses.

Results from RV144, which involved more than 16,000 adult  volunteers in Thailand,  were published in the New England Journal  of Medicine in October 2009. The vaccine combination was based on HIV  strains that commonly circulate in Thailand.

These new laboratory studies inform new testable hypotheses  that, if validated, may help scientists prioritize vaccine candidates for  future clinical trials, potentially accelerating the development of a more  effective vaccine.

Researchers noted that these results are unique to the  RV144 regimen, and that different vaccines may protect against HIV in different  ways. More research is needed to fully understand these results, and to  determine if they can be generalized to other types of HIV vaccines or similar  vaccines tested against other regional types of HIV.

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Study Finds HIV-Positive Men at Risk for Spreading HIV Despite Taking HAART


Researchers from Boston   University School  of Medicine (BUSM) and Fenway Health have found that highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)  does not completely suppress HIV in the semen of sexually active HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM). The findings, which currently appear online in AIDS, could indicate a potential transmission risk in MSM, who are highly  susceptible to HIV infection.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States  and many other developed countries is concentrated in MSM. HAART consists of a  combination of potent anti-HIV drugs, which generally suppresses HIV levels in  blood and semen, and HIV transmission to sex partners has been shown to be  reduced by 96% when HIV patients are on HAART and have undetectable viral loads.  However, sexually active MSM have a high prevalence of sexually transmitted  infections (STIs) which are a risk factor for HIV transmission.

The research team, headed by Deborah Anderson, MD, professor  of obstetrics and gynecology at BUSM, recruited 101 men from Fenway Health, Boston. They measured  levels of HIV in blood and semen, and examined the relationship between HIV in  semen and other clinical, behavioral, and biological variables. Of the 83 men  with undetectable HIV in blood plasma, 25% had HIV in their semen. Detection of  HIV in semen was strongly associated with high-risk (unprotected) sexual  behavior, sexually transmitted infections, and genital inflammation.

“It has been shown before that HIV levels in peripheral  blood are an important predictor of seminal HIV,” explained lead author Joseph  Politch, PhD, research associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology at  BUSM. “Our study provides evidence that genital infections and inflammation are  common in HIV-infected MSM that engage in unprotected intercourse, and that  these factors can promote HIV in the genital tract of men on suppressive HAART  therapy even when HIV is not detectable in blood,” he added.

“Men who have sex with men who are at risk for transmitting  HIV may believe that they have a low risk based on incorrect assumptions that  HAART eliminates HIV from semen. Until more information on transmission risk in  MSM is available, it would be prudent for sexually active HIV-infected MSM to  use condoms and other risk-reduction strategies throughout all stages of HIV  disease, regardless of HIV treatment status, and to promote the aggressive  diagnosis and treatment of STIs,” Politch said.

Kenneth Mayer, MD, Director of Research at Fenway  Health and a co-investigator on the study added, “We would like to extend this  research to study the effects of newer HAART regimens, since newer agents may  have different effects on HIV suppression in different compartments in the  body, which may have implications for HIV prevention.”