The AIDS Policy Project. Dedicated to a cure for AIDS.
June 7, 2011
Here’s something amazing. A cure for AIDS may be within reach—soon—for millions of people.
“I want to pull out all the stops to go for it,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, last Friday.
Fauci didn’t always feel that way. Until the AIDS Policy Project got into the picture, the National Institutes of Health wasn’t sure a cure for AIDS was even needed.
Together, we can keep the pressure on decisionmakers, change minds, cut red tape, and promote new ideas. But we need your help.
Here’s Dr. Fauci in 2008, talking about the first cure of a person with AIDS: “It’s very nice, and it’s not even surprising,” said Fauci, Director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in the New York Times. “But it’s just off the table of practicality.”
Top NIH officials told us repeatedly that the AIDS drugs we have are good enough; a cure wasn’t necessary. We swung into action.
The AIDS Policy Project uncovered data showing that the National Institutes of Health was spending only 3% of its AIDS research budget actually trying to develop a cure for AIDS. Before us, no one had ever bothered to track cure research spending.
We challenged Dr. Fauci in personal email and public forums. Our friend Larry Kramer sent him a message about the cure: “Stop operating like a bureaucrat and start acting like a genius.”
We mobilized hundreds of people with AIDS to send letters to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins demanding more money for a cure. In private meetings, elite research workshops and major press conferences, we called on Carl Dieffenbach, head of the Division of AIDS, to bump up the funding. We called the White House.
No other group was–or is–asking the NIH to spend more money on a cure. We are truly speaking truth to power in the service of people with AIDS.
Our work made the cover of POZ Magazine. We talked about the NIH in our town meetings—the first town meetings held on AIDS cure research in 15 years. The NIH began to capitulate—they announced $13 million more for cure research. They agreed to track their spending on a cure for the first time in the AIDS epidemic.
We didn’t stop. We worked for seven months with Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter Tina Rosenberg on a cure article for New York Magazine. The piece appeared last week; it isNew York’s most read and emailed article. In it, Fauci talks about cure research: “I don’t see a hot product.” Yet pressure was building.
Finally, on Friday, Fauci committed to “pull out all the stops” for a cure.
We need to hold him to his word.
A crack team of AIDS activists—HIV doctors, community organizers, and policy advocates with decades of experience—has put the cure for AIDS back on the map.
Join us to support this crucial work by helping us raise $30,000 by June 30. We will kick off a grassroots campaign this Fall calling for $240 million for AIDS cure research at the NIH—four times the current level.
We don’t take money from drug companies or the NIH, which allows us to remain an independent voice. And we’re not just fundraising from the work. We’re doing the work.
Together, we can do this.
Kate Krauss and Stephen LeBlanc, for everyone at the AIDS Policy Project
The AIDS Policy Project