On Ferguson and Queer Amnesia

Today at OutHistory’s blog, I (Dan) have a piece up about Ferguson, queer gentrification, and LGBT history, including AIDS and its disproportionate impact on queer African Americans. Go check it out!

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HIV, Black Men & The New Prison Pipeline by Lisa Fager Bediako & Michael Hinson

African American AIDS Activism Oral History Project narrator Michael Hinson and Lisa Fader Bediako argue that HIV criminalization laws constitute a new prison pipeline for black men, on Global Grind.

Global Grind

HIV criminalization

This month (February 7th) marked the sixteenth annual observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD).  HIV/AIDS, once considered a “gay white man” disease, is still consistently on the rise in black American communities across the US. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports “of all racial/ethnic groups in the US, blacks have the highest HIV burden and higher proportions of new infections and deaths.” Although improvements in HIV treatment over the last 30 years have transformed HIV/AIDS from a death sentence to a manageable, chronic condition, a troubling trend is emerging: HIV criminalization.

Currently, 33 states and two territories have laws criminalizing HIV. HIV criminalization has often resulted in gross human rights violations, including harsh sentencing for behaviors that pose little or no risk of HIV transmission, including: A man with HIV in Texas who is now serving 35 years for spitting at a police…

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Halloween at Harvard with Nancy Pelosi: Tell Her to Stop the TPP!

Similar to the important stand that ACT UP Philadelphia and Health GAP took 10-15 years ago against the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and the US Trade Representative’s threat of sanctions against South Africa. AIDS is not just a medical issue–it’s a social, economic, and political problem driven by other problems, including the growth of globalization and free trade policies.

Attitude

Join ACT UP and Student Global AIDS at Harvard this Halloween as they demand that visiting House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi work to provide access to medicines, stronger environmental regulations, corporate oversight & government transparency!

When: Thursday, October 31st, 1:15 PM (we’ll be there before and after the speech, so if you can’t make it at 1:15, we need another big surge at 2:30)

Where: Inside Radcliffe Yard (10 Garden Street)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a massive free trade agreement being negotiated in secret by the US and 11 other countries that, among many other things, would severely impact access to medicines in developing countries, undermine environmental regulations, decrease labor standards, and block internet freedom. The Administration is trying to submit the TPP for fast-track approval, which means that Congress cannot amend and bypasses important Congressional oversight. The negotiations have thus far been secret, so members of Congress and the…

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Screw you, Curascript. And as for Blue Cross? Inhumane, greedy, disgusting.

Given that treatment adherence is hard enough for some folks as it, and that adherence to a drug regimen a) prolongs the life of PWAs and b) likely prevents new HIV infections by lowering the viral loads of HIV-positive people, Blue Cross has so much blood on its hands. Can we get a phone zap up in here?

It's a Complete Outrage

Obluecrossnce again, Blue Cross has created a new “tier” of pharmacy benefits – Tier 4, a.k.a. “specialty” drugs a.k.a. a long list of medications for the treatment of HIV (they’ve included a few cancer and other drugs as well – though literally every single medication used for the treatment of HIV is now Tier 4) and for which there are no alternative or generic medications.

And what is different about this tier? Well, rather than a standard co-pay (it was $30.00 per prescription in 2012), patients are required to pay 20% of the cost of the medication or $150 maximum. Since all of the medications are expensive, the bottom line is that most co-payments are $150 or close to it, i.e. a 400% increase in out-of-pocket expenses for those being treated for HIV. In other words, Blue Cross has specifically targeted their most vulnerable patients as a new source…

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ACT UP vs. Paul Ryan

by Dan Royles

Via Joe.My.God.: Two protesters interrupted Paul Ryan at the Family Research Council’s Value Voters Summit, shouting, “Corporations are not people! Take the money out!” Although one of the women identified herself only as a “concerned citizen,” the other told reporters that she represented ACT UP Philadelphia, and in classic ACT UP fashion, had a bag full of press releases at the ready.

In the mid-90s, ACT UP Philadelphia began recruiting lower income people of color into the organization while other chapters nationwide went into decline. Along with the shift in membership, which reflected the “changing face of AIDS,” the group intensified its focus on issues of economic inequality in the AIDS pandemic, both at home and around the globe. In 2000, protesters from ACT UP Philadelphia and sister group Health GAP followed Al Gore on the campaign trail, demanding that generic HIV drugs be made available to the developing world. Their efforts have led some to credit the group(s) in part for George W. Bush’s announcement of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2003.