Seven AIDS activists from ACT UP showed up and stripped down — fully, apparently, from the photos — to draw attention to federal budget cuts affecting HIV/AIDS funding. The protestors chanted “ACT UP. Fight Back. Fight AIDS,” and “Boehner, Boehner, don’t be a dick. Budget cuts will make us sick,” according to Buzzfeed’s Chris Geidner, who was present and tweeted the above photo.
Curiously, only three protestors were arrested, and all three were women.
A press release noted:
The activists from QUEEROCRACY, ACT UP NY and ACT UP Philadelphia painted slogans on their bodies instead of holding signs: “AIDS Cuts Kill” and “Fund PEPFAR, Fund Ryan White, Fund Global Fund, Fund Medicaid, Fund HOPWA.”
“When you strip away the rhetoric of the fiscal cliff and the grand bargain, you see that these terms are a way to thinly veil draconian budget cuts that will leave millions around the world with absolutely nothing,” said Cassidy Gardner from QUEEROCRACY.
On Thursday, Secretary Clinton is expected to announce a blueprint to end AIDS. The mandatory budget cuts will make this goal nearly impossible, resulting in at least 620,000 otherwise preventable deaths from HIV. The naked protest was timed to coincide with the World AIDS Day march of hundreds of AIDS activists marching from the Democratic National Committee to the offices of Congressional leaders to demand a stop to the sequestration budget cuts that will push the world backwards in the fight against AIDS. In May of 2011, the U.S. funded study, HPTN 052, proved that the AIDS pandemic could be stopped and we could see an AIDS free world in a generation if a small number of people were put on treatment around the world.
“The naked truth is that if President Obama and Congressional leaders like Speaker Boehner allow these budget cuts to lifesaving programs, global health programs will lose $689 million, while domestic AIDS programs will lose $538 million.”, said Eustacia Smith from ACT UP New York.
“Boehner and others in Congress think that they can gut lifesaving programs without any consequences. We are here to bare witness and expose the effect on their constituents.” said, Michael Tikili from QUEEROCRACY.
Video hat tip Nick Harper
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