The real state of AIDS activism at Yale

To the Editor:

I was pleased to read the column by Sahm Adrangi ’03 on the importance of AIDS activism on campus (“Picking the right fight as a Yale activist,” 2/12). I second the call for more action against global AIDS at Yale, but Adrangi does not help when he ignores the successful efforts that have taken place here over the past two years.

Over that period, members of the Yale AIDS Network have participated in numerous campaigns to improve national and international responses to AIDS. We helped lobby Congress and President Bush to increase U.S. funding to treat and prevent AIDS around the world. The effort bore fruit in the recent State of the Union address, when President Bush pledged $15 billion for global AIDS over the next 5 years. That number was literally unthinkable before activists put it on the table — and many of those activists were university students, members of the Student Global AIDS Campaign and groups like YAN. More work remains to be done to ensure that the money is spent quickly and wisely — and we, along with the new Yale undergraduate organization AIDS Watch, will be working on this in the months to come.

We are also working to ensure that the lessons of Yale’s AIDS drug that Adrangi mentions are institutionalized, so that universities consider public health in developing countries when making their patenting and licensing decisions.

Finally, we are concerned about the activities of Yale’s new partner, Pfizer, in blocking access to generic medications around the world and are considering means to encourage the company to change its stance. Anyone who wishes to join us in any of these activities should come to our meetings Monday nights at 9 p.m. in Dwight Hall.

Amy Kapczynski LAW ’03

February 19, 2003

The writer is a member of the Yale AIDS Network.

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