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San Francisco AIDS Denialists
Disrupt Treatment Meeting

Unsuccessful Try to Close a Community Educational Forum

Project Inform Officials Call to End Tolerance for Tactics

Compiled By GayToday

A member of ACT UP/San Francisco San Francisco, California-- A small group of AIDS denialists calling themselves ACT UP/San Francisco have made a foiled attempt Monday to shut down a community educational forum for people living with HIV.

The forum, addressing a new anti-HIV treatment strategy, Structured Therapy Interruptions, was co-sponsored by Project Inform and the newly formed AIDS advocacy group, Survive AIDS!

The AIDS denialists burst into the meeting brandishing signs claiming that the anti-HIV medication AZT and other HIV treatments were killing people. They began spitting and screaming incoherent slogans, according to officials.

After a few minutes of such shouts and discourtesies during which the dissidents tossed pamphlets around the room, they headed for the door as word spread that police had been summoned.

People living with HIV who were attending the forum stood up to silence them with shouts of "shame, shame, shame!" and with "shut up and get out!" The AIDS denialists left the premises without having garnered any visible support.

In recent days, various members of the AIDS denialist movement have been reinvigorated by news that South African President Mbeki has been listening to the claims of dissident Drs. Peter Duesberg and David Rasnick.

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:
ACT UP Dissidents Emerge in San Francisco & Hollywood

South Africa "AIDS Dissident" Dispute: Time to Stop and Think

Matilde Krim's AIDS-Origin-Theory

Related Sites:
Project Inform

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The two renegade physicians, who question whether HIV causes AIDS or whether AIDS exists at all, are likened by mainstream scientists to the small movement of people who have denied the existence of the Holocaust in World War II.

Subsequent to contact with the denialists, South Africa has refused to supply readily available treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV or wider treatment for South African's with AIDS.

While ACT-UP San Francisco is certainly not in President Mbeki's rolodex, the group is, in fact, the San Francisco contingent of the AIDS denialist movement.

On other occasions the group has papered the city with posters claiming "AIDS is Over" and some members have met with conservative forces urging the US Congress to cut back on AIDS funding. "As a person living with HIV," noted Hank Wilson, a long-time activist who was at the disrupted meeting, "it's appalling that there has not been a more pronounced response by the political leadership in San Francisco to stop this group and the genocide they are perpetuating in our communities." Matt Sharpe, a member of Survive AIDS! and a person living with HIV further noted, "People with HIV/AIDS came to the forum to learn and share their experiences. This small, right-wing faction of homophobic and AIDSphobic individuals attempted to disrupt the free flow of information among people facing a life-threatening illness. To support people living with HIV, San Francisco must develop a policy of zero tolerance for this pitiful, infantile group."

Martin Delaney of Project Inform, a speaker at the meeting who was personally targeted by the demonstrators, commented:

"Everyone in this city has shown remarkable restraint for years in dealing with their [ACT UP/San Francisco's] infantile and illegal behavior, hoping they would eventually grow up or just get a life. Other cities ran them out of town much more quickly. But their time here is over and their full spectrum of activities will now be brought out into the light."

"It's ironic," said Brenda Lein of Project Inform, moderator of the program, "that of all the forces we have fought against in the battle against AIDS, nothing short of the virus, HIV, itself has been directly responsible for more deaths and suffering than the message being preached by these people. They are sowing the seeds of the future of the epidemic while attempting to divert those already ill from taking advantage of advances in therapy. It's mind boggling."

Meetings, according to Project Inform, are being set up with City Officials to discuss putting a halt to what it calls “the continued discrimination and violence against people living with AIDS by this handful of heretics.”

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