AIDS, Civil Resistance … and Fauci

Civil Resistance (Non-Violent Direct Action) played an important role in the early stages of the AIDS pandemic in the 1980ies to channel public funding into drug development and promote patient access to treatment. After the disease started spreading in the homosexual community in the USA in 1981 in a conservative culture of ignorance and victim blaming, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) spent only about 1 million USD per year on AIDS. However, after the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) was founded in March 1987, which used civil resistance methods, eg by shutting down trading on the New York Stock Exchange, AIDS funding by the US federal government increased from about 234 million USD (1986) to 2 billion USD (1992), ie a 10x increase in 6 years. To what extent a single organization can claim credit for causing this drastic shift in public opinion and funding around AIDS remains questionable. However, quoting the then-director of the NIH’s program on infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci (yes, he is that old!): “ACT UP put medical treatment in the hands of the patients. And that is the way it ought to be.”

SOURCE: Engler, M. & Engler, P. (2017). This is an uprising! New York, USA: Bold Type Books, pp. 197–205. http://thisisanuprising.org

#AIDS #CivilResistance #HealthPolicy #Fauci

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