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My Fabulous Disease

AIDS Activism 101: Steps to End the ADAP Crisis

By Mark S. King

January 31, 2011

Activists held an "emergency summit" this weekend to address the growing AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) crisis, and I'm taking you there. In this video episode of My Fabulous Disease, you'll learn about the panic over ADAP, and exactly what you can do to prevent thousands of AIDS patients from losing access to life saving medications.

The video is also a revealing glimpse into real-time activism, including tensions among the advocates themselves (mostly over the role of Big Pharma), and emotional moments of personal frustration and fatigue from years of AIDS advocacy.

The weekend was organized by the ADAP Advocacy Association (AAA+) and held in Ft Lauderdale (Florida has, by far, the longest waiting list of patients now waiting to join the ADAP program). The lead sponsor of the event was the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The 2011 Emergency ADAP Summit featured presentations from the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors and an impressive assortment of advocacy groups such as Housing Works, A Brave New Day, Broward House, and the Florida HIV/AIDS Advocacy Coalition. Even pharmaceutical representatives were there to explain their drug assistance programs for patients, adding a layer of "civility vs. activism" tension that kept everyone on their toes.

If you'd like to know if there is a waiting list in your state, you can find this information on the AAA+ web site, and the Fair Pricing Coalition provides information on the various pharma drug assistance programs.

(Clockwise from top left) myself, POZIAM blogger Christopher Myron, Dab Garner (Dab the AIDS Bear Project), Sherri Lewis ('Straight Girl in a Queer World'), and POZIAM founder and blogger for The Body, Robert Breining.

The pleasure of devoting my weekend to this issue was doing it alongside some amazing people, particularly friends from the blogosphere I was meeting in person for the first time. Here's a happy group of us taking a break from the proceedings, including (clockwise from top left) myself, POZIAM blogger Christopher Myron, Dab Garner (Dab the AIDS Bear Project), Sherri Lewis ("Straight Girl in a Queer World"), and POZIAM founder and blogger for The Body, Robert Breining.

But let's return to the theme of the video episode: doing what you can to help end this funding crisis, meaning, pick up the phone and call your elected officials ( will tell you who they are and how to reach them). And to make it as easy as possible, the video give you a lesson on what to expect from the call and what to say. I can still find calls like this intimidating, but these instructions make it simple for you.

Thanks for watching and, as always, please be well.

Activism means getting the word out. I hope you'll help increase calls to our elected officials by sharing this posting. ;]

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See Also
2014 National ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (PDF)
ADAP Waiting List Update: 35 People in 1 State as of July 23
More Viewpoints on U.S. ADAP Funding


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My Fabulous Disease

Mark S. King has been an active AIDS activist, writer and community organization leader since the early 1980s in Los Angeles. He has been an outspoken advocate for prevention education and for issues important to those living with HIV.

Diagnosed in 1985, Mark has held positions with the Los Angeles Shanti Foundation, AID Atlanta and AIDS Survival Project, and is an award-winning writer. He continues his volunteer work as an AIDS educator and speaker for conferences and events.

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