ACT UP Memorandum
June 5, 2000
To: United States Congress
Re: Ryan White CARE Act Re-authorization, "ACT UP San Francisco" and the AIDS crisis
We are writing on behalf of ACT UP New York and ACT UP Philadelphia in response to the recent correspondence you received from the group calling itself "ACT UP San Francisco."
Attached you will find a press release our organization sent out yesterday, along with a statement about who we are.
ACT UP Philadelphia and ACT UP New York are not in any way affiliated with the group calling itself "ACT UP San Francisco" or any of its members.
We believe that HIV plays a role in causing the syndrome known as AIDS and, unfortunately, we spend every single day of our lives surrounded by the cold, hard fact that AIDS is still a crisis.
Please feel free to contact us about the information contained in this packet. Also, let this serve as a reminder that the AIDS crisis is a global crisis. Support access to lifesaving medications. Thank you for your support.
Sincerely, (on behalf of ACT UP Philadelphia and ACT UP New York)
For Immediate Release
ACT UP Philadelphia and New York Denounce Group Calling Itself "ACT UP San Francisco"
ACT UP supports full funding for AIDS care, prevention, research and treatment, in the US and worldwide, including full funding for the Ryan White CARE Act.
ACT UP chapters across the globe were founded as grassroots, non-violent, all volunteer AIDS activist groups. ACT UP New York, ACT UP Philadelphia, ACT UP Boston, ACT UP Golden Gate (recently renamed "Survive AIDS"), ACT UP Los Angeles, ACT UP Washington and ACT UP Paris all recognize the overwhelming evidence that HIV causes the syndrome known as AIDS.
Since 1987, our organizations have effected wide-ranging advances in research and the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS. Each of these chapters has no affiliation with the group of individuals using the name ACT UP San Francisco. Rather than providing real solutions to the very real AIDS crisis, So-called "ACT UP San Francisco" is using the ACT UP name to piggyback on years of diligent advocacy of legitimate ACT UP chapters.
ACT UP Advises:
That all members of Congress reject
the positions of so-called "ACT UP San Francisco," a
group most noted for putting people with AIDS in physical danger
-- specifically, by strenuously and publicly advocating the following
scientifically untenable positions:
The current policy actions of so-called "ACT UP San Francisco" -- most recently advocating a cut in Congressional funding for life-extending direct services for people with HIV and AIDS -- are jeopardizing the lives and health of people with HIV.
REAL ACT UP chapters demand:
Full and expanded funding of the Ryan White Care Act and other federally funded services;
Full funding of CDC and other prevention programs, based on epidemiology derived from anonymous unique identifiers, not names. Non-named based systems have proven more effective than disease tracking by name;
AIDS medicine for all poor nations, including an expansion of the President's recent executive order that blocks enforcement actions when medication patent protection exceeds the requirements of the already restrictive WTO agreements on intellectual property. The executive order must be expanded to all developing and least-developed nations, rather than being limited to sub-Saharan African nations;
An immediate repeal of Senator Jesse Helm's federal funding ban on syringe exchange. Needle exchange is firmly proven as the most effective way of dramatically reducing new infections in heavily impacted areas without increasing illegal drug use;
Expanded funding for Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) until every person with HIV has safe, affordable housing; and
Massive increases in contributions to AIDS treatment and prevention efforts in poor countries.
ACT UP Urges Congress to:
Oppose any calls to force pregnant women -- and all others -- to undergo mandatory HIV testing. Public health research indicates that forced testing would most likely deter pregnant women from prenatal care, increase rather than decrease the risk of HIV transmission from woman to fetus.
Implement the Bayh-Dole laws, utilizing the rights retained on pharmaceutical products where substantial federal funding was involved. These drugs should be made available at-or-below manufacturing cost to poor countries, and at fair prices in the United States;
Prioritize microbicide research. Woman-controlled HIV prevention methods are long overdue, and could have dramatic public health benefits, domestically and abroad.
Statement of ACT UP
Philadelphia regarding "ACT UP San Francisco"
ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) Philadelphia was founded in 1988 and remains a grassroots, non-violent, all-volunteer AIDS activist group based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ACT UP Philadelphia does not accept funding from the pharmaceutical industry or the government.
ACT UP Philadelphia, as well as ACT UP New York, Golden Gate, Paris, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Boston are not affiliated with the group calling itself "ACT UP San Francisco".
As active members of the Health GAP (Global Access Project) Coalition, ACT UP Philadelphia has worked to challenge US government trade policies that have blocked access to essential medication in countries confronted with the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
ACT UP Philadelphia recognizes the overwhelming evidence that HIV causes the syndrome known as AIDS. We recognize that certain medications, including those that prevent and treat opportunistic infections, have been life-extending for millions of people living with HIV.
ACT UP Philadelphia recognizes the side effects and toxicities of current anti-HIV therapies, and call on industry and governments to conduct targeted research to fully understand these effects and to develop safer treatments that will be effective and tolerated for many years.
Further, ACT UP Philadelphia recognizes that these treatments are not a cure. In addition to calling for continuing research toward a cure for those infected with HIV, we call for increased, ethical research on microbicides to develop an effective and safe HIV prevention method for women and men worldwide. We support increased, ethical research on a vaccine or vaccines that will be effective against all types of HIV.
ACT UP Philadelphia condemns pharmaceutical research, marketing, and pricing standards that hold profits above all other factors and limit access to, and knowledge of, the most effective use of anti-HIV therapies.
ACT UP Philadelphia calls for full access to essential medications for all preventable or treatable health conditions worldwide.
example of so-called " Act Up/San Francisco" perverted lobby efforts:
Dear Congressional Colleague:
I understand that ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) has taken a new position regarding the federal funding of AIDS. For your review their letter follows. Sincerely, Gary G. Miller, Member of Congress [see bio below]
Congressman Gary G. Miller
1037 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-0541
May 15, 2000
Dear Representative Miller:
Greetings from ACT UP San Francisco -- the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power. Our organization was formed in 1988 as a diverse collective of individuals united in anger and committed to ending AIDS through militant direct action.
We are forwarding the enclosed information to bring an urgent matter to your attention: the growing realization that AIDS is a tragic medical mistake, not a new viral epidemic. Our position is that current services based on the erroneous hypothesis that HIV causes AIDS are fundamentally flawed. Therefore, ACT UP requests your vote to eliminate all federal funding of AIDS-related programs including the Ryan White CARE Act and the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).
Two decades since strange sicknesses appeared in certain gay men, it is obvious that past predictions of a looming epidemic have not materialized. AIDS has not behaved like other sexually transmissible diseases and the syndrome has affected few Americans. Since 1980, more people have died each year in car accidents, and four times more Americans have been killed by prescription drugs than from AIDS. According to a 1998 ranking of U.S. fatalities, AIDS was number seventeen with 16,685 deaths compared to heart disease (725,790 deaths), diabetes (62,332) or Alzheimer's disease (22,527).
Despite the small number of cases and deaths, federal funding for AIDS has been disproportionately excessive compared to other ailments that kill more Americans. For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) allocates $2,400 per patient in research money to AIDS compared to $230 for breast cancer, $108 for heart disease, and $28 for diabetes. Moreover, under the pretext of a growing pandemic, those with AIDS unfairly receive special emergency funds through the Ryan White CARE Act and ADAP that people with other diseases do not. (Disease Politics, ABC News 20/20, 10/11/99)
As AIDS cases and deaths have plummeted over the past decade, the Ryan White CARE Act has ballooned to over $1.5 billion annually. Taxpayer dollars intended to house, feed, and care for sick people -- in the absence of any real emergency -- are being squandered on the overhead costs and salaries of thousands of well-funded AIDS groups. Millions more are wasted subsidizing expensive anti-HIV treatments that cause death, deformity and side effects identical to the symptoms of AIDS.
The facts are clear: AIDS is not an emergency or a threat to national security because this collection of diseases is not caused by HIV. Congress must eliminate the Ryan White CARE Act, fairly prioritize NIH research funding and launch an immediate investigation into the U.S. AID$ scam.
David Pasquarelli, on behalf of the general body of ACT UP San Francisco
Brief Bio of Congressman Gary Miller: Born in Arkansas, but grew up in Whittier, California. In his early twenties Gary started his first company, the G. Miller Development Company. During that time Gary met his wife Cathy and they were married in 1972. Gary and Cathy soon started a family and raised three sons and a daughter. As his family grew, so did his business. G. Miller Development expanded from building single family homes and custom homes to eventually developing planned communities.
In 1982, Gary was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of Sonrise Christian School. His service to the community was expanded in 1988 when he was appointed to the Diamond Bar Municipal Advisory Council. Upon the incorporation of the City of Diamond Bar in 1989, Gary Miller was elected to its first city council and served as Mayor in 1992.
On May 16, 1995, Gary Miller was elected to the California State Assembly. There he served as Chairman of the Budget Committee and the Banking and Finance Committee, as well as Vice-Chairman of the Transportation Committee. His distinguished State Assembly career is highlighted by 24 bills signed into law, successfully negotiating funding of the first Class Size Reduction program, and a balanced budget that reduced the business tax rate to 1973 levels while maintaining a $310 million reserve.
On November 3, 1998, Gary Miller was elected to represent California's 41st District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves the House as a Freshman Whip and has been appointed Vice-Chair of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee. In addition, Mr. Miller serves on the Subcommittees on Aviation and Surface Transportation as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and is a member of the House Budget Committee.
Congressman Miller's legislative priorities for the 106th Congress include continued funding for the Alameda Corridor East Project and Ontario International Airport. Always a tax fighter, Congressman Miller has authored H.R. 1234 which would eliminate a 3% excise tax on phone services created initially to help fund the Spanish American War over 100 years ago. Congressman Miller has also proposed real Social Security reform with H.R. 1268, which would replace $756.9 billion worth of non-marketable government IOUs in the Social Security Trust Fund with negotiable, interest bearing bonds.
2. H.RES.239 : Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with regard to obscenity and sexual objectification in the United States. Sponsor: Rep Miller, Gary - Latest Major Action: 7/13/1999 Referred to House subcommittee Committees: House Judiciary
4. H.R.1268 : To amend title II of the Social Security Act to ensure the integrity of the Social Security trust funds by requiring the Managing Trustee to invest such trust funds in marketable obligations of the United States. Sponsor: Rep Miller, Gary - Latest Major Action: 3/24/1999 Referred to House committee Committees: House Ways and Means
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