Overview of Second Meeting

In the second meeting, we had a great brainstorming session about ideas for this semester! After an overview of the issues, we thought about how to address these pressing concerns while incorporating the tactics outlined in our mission: education, advocacy, activism, and service. Check out the brilliant ideas:

  • Make a formalized and recurrent community service program, which could also influence the content of our other events.
  • Take a field trip to educate ourselves — go to an HIV testing center or syringe exchange program to learn more.
  • Focus on World AIDS Day and fewer events rather than a full week to maximize the impact and efficacy of each program. This way, we can also promote and attend other great events happening in the rest of the city.
  • Maximize impact of election season — join in or lead protest of candidates.
  • Table in Lerner with information about testing campaigns and activism opportunities.
  • Participate in Dance Marathon!
  • Keep challenging stereotypes as a theme to our work.
  • Hold a condom couture (fashion out of expired condoms!) and auction event to fundraise for an organization we are serving.
  • Involve the Greek system and other non-health related groups in more of our events.
  • Hold more speaker events to discuss various aspects of HIV/AIDS, especially with faculty from the School of Public Health.

We hope you’ll join us tomorrow as we plan more concretely for events and themes to our work this semester (and eat snacks). New members are always welcome, so check it out in the Dodge Room of Earl Hall at 8 PM every Wednesday.

Click the link for the information from a fact sheet passed out at the meeting:

SGAC National Campaigns



– Inadequate commitment from the US Congress to the Global Fund in 2011 had immediate and devastating consequences: The Global Fund had to cancel a round of grants for the next THREE years, the first cancellation in its history.

Unless the US and other donor countries take the lead once more, the Global Fund will no longer be able to support hundreds of community based initiatives across the world that are treating 3.3 million people worldwide.

– The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief works with countries around the world to strengthen health systems and provide HIV treatment. PEPFAR continues to be threatened by the out-of-control austerity fervor sweeping US Congress.


– On December 1st, 2011, President Obama pledged to put 6 million people on treatment by the end of 2013. Two months later, his federal budget cut funding to PEPFAR by 11 % ( a cut of $ 546 million). These cuts undermine his stated commitment to increasing funding for AIDS treatment and prevention.

We must hold him to it!

– The Global Fund and PEPFAR must be fully funded to increase the availability of treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS throughout the world.




– Syringe exchange programs that provide clean needles for IV drug use are an essential tool for HIV prevention.

– Sharing syringes is one of the largest modes of HIV transmission in the US.

– These programs are evidence based, effective ways to save lives and enhance public health yet they are constantly under attack.

-In 2009, Obama lifted the ban on federal funding for needle exchanges due to pressure from activists. BUT in 2011, Congress reenacted this ban, legislating their discrimination against IV drug users and the communities most affected by HIV/AIDS.


We must demand that the fiscal year 2013 budget reverses the ban on syringe exchange funding.




When the economy crashed in 2008, the progress the world was making on fighting the AIDS pandemic slowed. Four years later, funding for treatment and prevention programs has been flat-lined, if not cut drastically.


– A Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street would be a tiny tax of less than 1% on speculative wall street transactions. Every time Wall Street traders buy and sell financial instruments like stocks, bonds and currency they would pay a small tax on those transactions. While the rest of us pay taxes on every purchase we make, Wall Street isn’t taxed on the purchases they make.

– A Robin Hood Tax on the Financial Market would yield up to $350 billion a year – money that would be used to provide HIV treatment and prevention for people throughout the world, fund job creation, and strengthen public services like health care, education and infrastructure in the US, and tackle global health, poverty and climate change around the world.

– The tax would not affect any transactions most Americans make, but rather curb the greed of the 1% while strengthening programs that all of us.


Other Important Campaigns

1) Treatment as Prevention

the 052 clinical trial conducted by the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) reported that antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) reduced the risk of heterosexual transmission by 96%

– There is a 20-45% chance that a baby born to an HIV-infected mother will become infected. However, treatment for the mother during pregnancy significantly reduces this risk.

– In some countries if a person has been exposed to HIV they are offered a short course of antiretroviral drugs to reduce their chances of becoming infected with the virus. This is called post exposure prophylaxis, or PEP

– One possible prevention technique that is being researched is pre-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP involves providing people who are not infected with HIV with antiretroviral drugs before possible exposure to the virus, to stop them from becoming infected. It has the potential to be useful for serodiscordant couples (couples where only one partner is living with HIV).


2) Big Pharma


Company creates drug and patents it

–> when the patent is about to expire, company changes dosage or some other minute detail to renew the patent

–> when the new patent is about to expire companies change the formula, for example a children’s dosage and again extend their patent

–> Company maintains a monopoly on rights for this drug and stops inexpensive generics from becoming available

– Countries can buy Compulsory Licenses, which allow them to pay a set fee to patent holding companies to sell generics of patented drugs (http://www.msfaccess.org/content/infographics-big-pharmas-continued-attack-india-pharmacy-developing-world). 

Remaining needs:

–  Overall donor funding for global AIDS has remained stagnant in recent years; indeed it decreased from $7.7 billion in 2008 to $7.6 billion in 2009. Congress and the President have used the financial crisis as an excuse to backtrack on the commitment to spend $48 billion over five years on global AIDS, TB, and malaria. Flat-lined funding from the U.S. has signaled to other wealthy nations to cut or not increase funding. As a direct result of underfunding, people with AIDS who were promised treatment are being forced to wait in line for AIDS drugs. Too often, they will not make it to the front of the line. As of 2010, the year that wealthy nations committed to achieve universal access to AIDS treatment, two-thirds of people in need still lack access to life-saving medication.

–  In many places in Africa, people receiving HIV treatment must take drugs that have harsh side effects, even though better, less toxic versions (like Tenofovir) have been available for years. These higher-quality medications should be made available to people receiving treatment. Additionally, treatment should be started earlier. Evidence has shown that initiation at 350 CD4 cells, as opposed to the current standard of 200 CD4 cells, improves health outcomes dramatically.

–  Second- and third-line treatment remains out of reach for millions, as a result of a lack of generic competition. The US must stop promoting excessive intellectual property protections for life- saving medication in the developing world.

–  Prevention programs must be based on evidence. Abstinence-only has been proven ineffective (and, at times, harmful). However organizations receiving US government funding are required to write a report if they spend less than half of their prevention budget on abstinence programs. Additionally, the US continues to require organizations to sign a pledge that they condemn sex work before receiving funding. This “prostitution loyalty oath” only inhibits organizations that seek to work with sex workers to reduce HIV transmission.

Interesting Statistics

 USA is number 1 contributor but number 12 contributor when contributions are taken as a share of US GNI.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.