Bangkok AIDS Conference



2 August 2004


(Bangkok) – AIDS activists from around the world celebrated the global policy consensus on the fight against HIV/AIDS, and vowed to redouble their efforts to obtain full funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Several of the groups, led by U.S.-based Health GAP, spoke to reporters at the conclusion of the International AIDS Conference in Bangkok today.

“The richly deserved embarrassment of the Bush Administration and its drug company surrogates here in Bangkok deals a setback to the president’s efforts to promote conservative ideology at the expense of people living with HIV/AIDS,” said Robert Dabney, director of communications for Health GAP. “Many of the issues that activist groups were raising at the 2000 International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa were viewed as being on the fringe. Today, what was once marginal has become mainstream. Harmful political debates about the efficacy of generic drugs, harm reduction among injection drug users and treatment versus prevention have been settled. There is a worldwide revolt of public opinion against the harmful Bush policies which can no longer be dismissed.”

Representatives of several groups, including the Thai Treatment Action Group, Health GAP, ACT UP Paris, The Global AIDS Alliance USA, Action Against AIDS Germany and the Treatment Action Campaign of South Africa met with members of the media at the conclusion of the conference to review the issues that were raised during the week-long meeting. Among those issues were the lack of adequate funding of the Global Fund and the continuing attempts to use bilateral free trade agreements by the United States government to suppress the use of generic drugs in HIV/AIDS treatment.

“There is a global consensus the efforts of the United States to ‘go it alone’ by implementing these trade agreements and creating a unilateral funding plan rife with restrictions on recipients are terribly flawed,” Dabney continued. “The criticism of the Bush Administration efforts, or lack thereof, has come from sources as diverse as the U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the GAO, a U.S. congressional oversight agency and French President Jacques Chirac. This conference issued a clarion call to wealthy nations to meet the commitment to provide $30 billion (US) in funding to the Global Fund by 2008. There is a worldwide revolt of public opinion against the Bush policies which cannot be dismissed.”

The activist groups concluded the International AIDS Conference by vowing to continue their joint efforts to ensure full-funding for the Global Fund; to continue to fight efforts to eliminate proven, effective treatment and prevention campaigns and to continue to oppose trade agreements that threaten the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS and promote drug company monopolies.





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