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November 8, 2010

Gonsalves: AIDS activism saved my life

Yale Daily News: "AIDS activists from Yale and Harvard took on the president last week. They know — because they did their homework — that the Obama administration has decided to scale back the U.S.’ efforts to scale up AIDS drugs in Africa. They know that the president is being told by some advisers that AIDS treatment isn’t cost-effective, a rehash of the old arguments from the 1990s. They know that rather than seeing AIDS as a public health success worthy of building upon for larger goals, the White House is pitting AIDS against other worthy health priorities. They know that close to 40 deans of schools of public health and medicine and world experts in global health have sent letters to the White House objecting to this shift in policy. Even Nobel Prize-winning organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu have appealed to the president, to no avail.

"AIDS activists from Yale and Harvard did the right thing last week. As always, when activists “act up,” they’re told that they should have picked a better time and place for their protests. We were told this again and again in the 1980s and 1990s. If activists had listened to the sage advice of their contemporaries back then, I’d be dead and millions of others would be too."