AIDS advocates ask politicians to “Keep the Promise”

By Dannis Valera

WASHINGTON — Chanting “keep the promise,” thousands of AIDS advocates marched through the streets of Washington, D.C. on June 22 calling for an end to the epidemic with more funding and access to AIDS care.

“People living with HIV, you are the conscience of the world,” said Michael Weinstein, AHF president, to the crowd. “Your voice must be louder. The solemn promise to conquer AIDS must be kept—history is watching.”

At the rally preceding the march, a number of prominent figures and civil rights activists made appearances, such as Reverend Al Sharpton. Comedienne Margaret Cho hosted the program.

“We are going to make sure that we let the world know that the AIDS crisis is not over,” Cho said. “I’ve lost so much from this disease, I don’t want to lose anymore. We cannot lose anymore.”

AHF Global Ambassador Jorge Saavedra is hoping the march will raise the issue on lack of funding for AIDS treatment globally. He says the issue affects African, Asian, and Central American countries, which “rely on international aid to do any kind of response to HIV.

The march started at the Washington Monument and trod down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol. The opening ceremonies for the conference happened later that night.

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