Press Release
SOURCE: AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Activists Charge AIDS Conference Organizers 'Break Faith With Global AIDS Community;
Turn Meeting Into Drug Company Trade Show'

'March for Life' Organizers Say Fewer People With AIDS
and From Developing World to Attend Conference

'AIDS Therapeutic Treatment Now' Denounces Sale of Delegate Names
to Drug Companies Without Permission

'ATTN' Demands Conference Embrace Treatment Access Issues,
Support Activist March

BARCELONA, Spain, July 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Organizers of the July 7 March for Life, representing 500 AIDS organizations across the globe, are protesting the favoritism being shown by the International AIDS Conference to the big drug companies, the only principal sponsors of the conference.

"Companies pay $1 million to hawk their wares to 14,000 conference delegates, despite the fact that the HIV drugs that these companies produce are only being received by 1% of people with HIV in the world," said Terri Ford of AIDS Therapeutic Treatment Now (ATTN).

Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation and a delegate at the last conference in Durban, South Africa, said, "The Durban conference broke the mold. Because it was the first conference held in the developing world it did not become a drug company trade show as the previous conferences were. In Barcelona, it will be difficult again to distinguish the exhibit hall at the AIDS conference from a hardware show with the expensive rotating displays and the swanky parties that are held nightly."

The million-dollar sponsorships earn drug companies exclusive access to delegates' addresses, and four-color brochures arrive daily in the mail and via computer for the two months leading up to the conference. At the same time, many fewer people with AIDS from the developing world will attend the Barcelona conference because fewer scholarships have been granted and the Spanish government has limited visas for HIV positive delegates. "The only voices that will be heard at the conference if the organizers have their way are those of corporate greed," said Weinstein.

The conference has refused numerous requests to notify delegates of the March for Life this Sunday July 7th at 5 p.m. prior to the opening ceremonies. "We demand that the conference immediately notify all delegates of the march and open up the conference proceedings to a debate of treatment access for the developing world," said ATTN's Ford.

SOURCE: AIDS Healthcare Foundation



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