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Over a Dozen AIDS Activists Block Rush Hour Traffic in Front of U.S. Consulate During International AIDS Conference
Demand Universal Access for All People Living With AIDS

August 16, 2006

Toronto -- At about 9:00 a.m. today, fifteen AIDS activists temporarily shut down southbound traffic on University Avenue in front of the United States Consulate General by forming a human chain to protest the lack of a commitment from the U.S. to ending the AIDS pandemic during the week of the International Conference on AIDS. Demonstrators decried the lack of international progress since the 2001 and 2006 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on AIDS declarations to fight AIDS around the world.

In a colorful display of bright orange t-shirts with an emblazoned message directed at politicians to "End AIDS Now," people living with HIV/AIDS, students and dozens of activists from New York City-based Housing Works joined together to deliver a five-foot high signed demand letter and to rally outside of the U.S. Consulate during the blocking of traffic by over a dozen protesters.

The demonstrators asked that U.S. Consul General Nay communicate directly to President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about the demands of domestic and global AIDS activists for universal access to AIDS treatment and care, science-based prevention methods, research for a cure, and full human and civil rights for everyone living with HIV.

"People living with AIDS are tired of empty declarations. We call on President Bush to join with the leaders of other nations to provide universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support in the U.S. and abroad by 2010," asserted Charles King, a participant in the direct action, and president of the AIDS service and advocacy group Housing Works.

Demand letters addressed to the Consuls General of India, China and South Korea have already been delivered to the respective consulates. The activists also plan to deliver additional demand letters to the consulates of Thailand, Japan and Britain.

"We are targeting influential countries that need to expand their commitment to ending AIDS like the US, UK and Japan," stated openly HIV positive protester Nancy Cotto-Laboy. "We also want to highlight the need for other countries like India, South Korea, China and Thailand to fully address their AIDS epidemics among poor women, children, sex workers, injection drug users and other marginalized populations."

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