Less than a week before World AIDS Day on December 1, seven activists charged into the office Rep. John Boehner, stripped naked and demanded a meeting with the the Republican Speaker of the House over proposed cuts to funding for AIDS research and awareness.
Instead of carrying placards, members of advocacy groups like Queerocracy, ACT UP NY and ACT UP Philadelphia painted slogans on their bodies, including “AIDS Cuts Kill” and “Fund PEPFAR, Fund Ryan White, Fund Global Fund, Fund Medicaid, Fund HOPWA.”
“Boehner and others in Congress think that they can gut lifesaving programs without any consequences,” said Queerocracy’s Michael Tikili. “We are here to bare witness and expose the effect on their constituents.” Another member called proposed cuts “draconian” and said they “would leave millions around the world with absolutely nothing.”
A press release goes into more detail:
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.
Good thing they didn’t try this in San Francisco.