Say it loud: We can end AIDS!

Greta Hughson
Published: 24 July 2012

There was another day of activism in Washington DC today, where people took to the streets in a ‘mobilisation for economic justice and human rights’. Organised to coincide with the 19th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) currently being held in Washington, five separate marches were held, each taking a different route before converging in Lafayette Square, in front of the White House.

The five strands were defined as:

  • A 'Robin Hood' tax on Wall Street
  • People over pharma profits
  • Promote sound policies
  • End the war on women
  • Human rights and harm reduction.

Many of the marchers started at the Global Village, the community area of the conference, causing a stir as they passed through the convention centre and outside.

A group of nurses from National Nurses United, the largest union of nurses in the US, were vocal supporters of the ‘Robin Hood' tax group – in their distinctive green felt hats – and spoke of their anger with the current inequalities in the US:

“It’s a disgrace, a national disgrace. We want our money back! From across the country, the nurses are here. They stand with everyone involved in the social movement, everyone involved in the AIDS movement…we’re here for the long haul and Wall Street’s gonna pay!”

I marched with the ‘End the war on women’ group and they were in fine voice. The mood of the march was warm and optimistic, strong and defiant, with enthusiastic chants of  “Women, united, will never be defeated” and the brilliantly constructed, “Together we can turn the tide, give us our microbicides”!

With many groups represented, the list of demands from the marchers included the scale-up of TB programmes; the expansion of harm reduction programmes; an end to criminalisation of sex workers; drug users and people living with HIV; and universal access to HIV treatment. As all the groups converged, the message from the podium was pretty clear. If we have the tools to end the epidemic, it’s not good enough to say that we don’t have the money. Find the money. End AIDS.

Where to find the money is a question that’s also being tackled inside the conference centre.

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

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