Thursday, July 22, 2010

My testimony

A few days ago, I was interviewed by a BBC reporter about my story. It was on the front page of the BBC's website.

Igor, the other person interviewed, and myself had a conversation about how we contracted HIV and how we're coping with it today.

Listen to it here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

EU seizes medicines! We seize EU!

Do you know that the European Commission seized generic HIV medicines on their way from India to Africa, leaving thousands without their medicines?

Do you know that the EU is aggressively pursuing a Free Trade Agreement with India that will prevent generic ARVs from being produced and exported from India - the main source of HIV medicines for the developing world?

Do you know that the EU is in secret negotiations with the US and other countries on an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that includes higher intellectual property protection and threatens import and export of generic HIV medicines?

We know! And we took over their booth to protest them.

This is the switch to keep the light on HIV AND HUMAN RIGHTS from the march last night that Annie Lennox threw. Here it is hanging out in our booth. I am on my way now to the official UNAIDS media booth because they want my photos from last nights event. I have posted them on my blog if you want to see them which is so much cooler than visiting the UNAIDS page, but either way look for them shortly. My blog is

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Photos from Day Three

Day three - taking on Goosby (US AIDS Ambassador) in two ways! We joined a sex worker rights march that confronted him directly in a press conference, and we went to a panel he spoke at where we held up signs, and asked him if the US planned to support increased treatment access, and starting people on treatment earlier, which helps keep people healthy.

Here are some photos:

Setting the tone

Today started off with a speech from former President Bill Clinton, who said that, essentially, activists need to give Obama a pass on funding, because of the economic crisis. As Stephen Lewis, the former UN AIDS Ambassador, said, we're looking for $2.5 billion more, not hundreds of billions of dollars. They've found hundreds of billions for other important (and not-so-important) needs. Keeping the promise to fully fund global AIDS would save literally millions of lives, and would barely put a dent in the federal budget. Clinton also said that we, as activists, should focus our energy on Congress instead, because, and I'm paraphrasing slightly, Obama would never veto a bill with sufficient funding for global AIDS.  Again, paraphrasing Stephen Lewis - this is a two-way street. Congress wouldn't reject a budget proposal from the Administration that included sufficient funding. But Congress is unable to increase funding much beyond what the President proposes. So it's on the Administration, not Congress, to push for the critical funding increases that are needed.

At first, I was frustrated by Clinton's remarks. But, the more I thought about it, and the more I talked with other activists about it, the more I realized that Clinton was responding (at the request of the Obama Administration?) to activist demands the day before, at our massive action. We have set the tone of the conference. This is the conference about ensuring that world leaders, including Obama, do not retreat from promises to fund AIDS. The Obama Administration heard us. We've put them on the defensive.

On top of this, press coverage of the conference mentions funding for global AIDS as one of the key themes of the action. The International AIDS Society put out a press release calling for full funding of global AIDS. And our activist meetings are growing, as we bring more and more people into the fight to ensure that universal access to AIDS treatment, prevention and care is achieved.

Four more days to make sure this message stays front and center in this conference.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Photos from Day Two

Activists challenged Bill Gates to support a "Robin Hood Tax" and we held a press conference detailing the effects of Obama's broken AIDS promises.

Act-Up Paris Asked us to post this so i am!

2010, l’année des promesses brisées ?
Des activistes interrompent le discours de l’ambassadeur sida français pour l’interpeller sur les promesses non tenues par la France
publié en ligne : 18 juillet 2010

Vienne, dimanche 18 juillet - Aujourd’hui, des militantEs d’associations de lutte contre le sida, dont Act Up-Paris, ont interpellé l’ambassadeur sida français Patrice Debré, en poste depuis quatorze mois. Ils ont interrompu son discours lors d’une session de la pré-conférence qui réunissait plusieurs ambassadeurs sida.

Flash - 1 ko
le zap en vidéo
(cliquer sur l’image pour visionner la vidéo)

Depuis mai 2009, 2,500 000 personnes sont mortes du sida dans le monde car elles n’ont pas pu recevoir de traitements. Nous demandons à l’ambassadeur sida : comment sera-t-il possible de mettre de nouvelles personnes sous traitements sans argent supplémentaire et en luttant contre des moyens efficaces de faire baisser le coût des médicaments ?

Des activistes américains se sont également joints à la manifestation, demandant à Eric Goosby, ambassadeur américain, de se battre pour que la promesse des Etats-Unis de financer la lutte contre le sida à hauteur de USD 46 milliards sur 5 ans, soit tenue. Les activistes ont également remis une lettre ouverte, signée par plus de 200 associations, appelant les dirigeants à travers le monde à financer à hauteur des besoins la lutte contre le sida.

2010 devait être l’année de l’accès universel aux traitements anti-sida, tuberculose et paludisme. 2010 sera l’année des promesses non tenues de la part des leaders des pays du G8. 2010 est l’année de la reconstitution des financements du Fonds Mondial pour les trois prochaines années. A ce jour, la France n’a pas montré de signes indiquant qu’elle allait augmenter significativement sa contribution au Fonds Mondial de lutte contre le sida, la tuberculose et le paludisme. Pourtant, sans une augmentation d’au moins 30% de sa contribution annuelle au Fonds (de 100 millions par an), il ne sera possible ni d’appliquer les nouvelles recommandations de l’OMS, ni de permettre le passage sous secondes et troisièmes lignes de traitements pour toutes les personnes qui en ont besoin. Les Etats-Unis n’ont quant à eux pas augmenté leur participation au niveau autorisé par le Congrès. Cela entraine des listes d’attente dans au moins quatre pays fortement touchés par la pandémie.

2010 est l’année de la guerre aux génériques : 2010 est l’année d’ACTA (accords anti contrefaçon) et des accords de libres échanges entre l’Inde et l’Union Européenne, accords qui, s’ils sont signés vont entraver ramatiquement la production et la circulation de médicaments génériques à bas prix.

Some thoughts on yesterday's action

I'm still coming down from the action yesterday. I was tied to the giant balloons (quite literally) for most of the action, so I wasn't able to participate in the march or when the 2,000 participants took the stage and made the point to all delegates, and to the world's media & decision makers, that AIDS activists will not lie down silently while governments cut or flat-fund budgets for AIDS programs.

So, since I was attached to the balloons, I was waiting for the march to come to where I was, at the end. Before everyone entered, you could hear a simple conversation in the room. When the crowd marched into the Atrium outside the Opening Ceremony, the room filled with so much noise, chanting, and singing that you could not hear anything else. I think people passing us on the subway must've heard us.

Everyone I talked to left feeling empowered and ready to keep up the fight throughout the rest of the conference. Which is good, because that's what it's going to take - sustained activism that pressures decision makers to keep their promises to fund AIDS.

So, on that note... Activist meetings are every day at 8:30am and 7pm in the Global Village USA/Canada networking zone. Come learn about and help plan actions for the rest of the week!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

AIDS Activists Die to Delay International AIDS Conference Opening Ceremony

Okay I uploaded some photos from today's action to my blog beccause this one is not allowing me to post them. so click the link and check out a selction of my coverage.

I took 6 gb of images so they are a little out of order. Feel free to leave comments.

Lucky S. Michaels

AIDS Activist ‘Die-In' Delays International AIDS Conference Opening Ceremony

view photos at


AIDS Activist ‘Die-In' Delays International AIDS Conference Opening Ceremony 

Sets tone for conference highlighting intense anger over government inaction towards achieving universal access to HIV treatment

Vienna, Austria:  Hundreds of angry people living with HIV and AIDS activists marched through the Messe Wien conference center, the site of the 2010 International AIDS Conference, and then staged a mass “die-in”.  The activists intended to delay the opening ceremony to illustrate how governments around the world are slowing and scaling back their commitments toward Universal Access to HIV care, treatment and prevention. Tombstones, held to remind conference attendees of the 15 million people who are in immediate need of treatment, read ‘Broken Promises Kill, No Retreat, Fund AIDS’. Recently, the U.S. and European governments have pulled back in their support for AIDS care, treatment and prevention and to the fact that governments in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, have failed to live up to their commitment to fund AIDS treatment and other health needs as laid out in the Abuja Declaration.

The Global Fund (GFATM), the world’s response to the AIDS crisis, was forced to adopt 10% budget cuts to the first 2 years of funding, and 25% cuts to for the last 3 years. Michael, Gwaba from the Zambia Community Initiative for Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS & Malaria (CITAM+) and the Here I Am Campaign, said, “There remains a huge funding gap for Round 10, opened in May 2010, which will result in countries scaling back programs and resisting investment in activities with recurrent costs, such as hiring desperately needed health workers or enrolling new patients in treatment.”

In 2010, the U.S. Congress paid $1.05 billion to the GFATM – $1.7 billion less than the U.S. fair share. For 2011, President Obama proposed to cut funding to only $1 billion, even though at least $2 billion is needed from the US to begin to close the GFATM’s funding gap.

The demonstration was kicked off with a massive banner drop at the site of the conference.  In addition, 4 giant helium filled balloons flew in front of the conference center with the faces of world leaders and demanding full funding to fight global AIDS.

“There are many important discussions that will take place during the International AIDS Conference.  However, in order for any of those discussions to have any relevance, ALL conferees must first address the growing crisis in funding for AIDS care and prevention.”, said, Mabel Takana, an AIDS activist with Health GAP from Cameroon.

"The African Union countries have failed to live up to their Abuja commitments on health, and our finance ministers recently suggested that these spending targets should be dismissed altogether. Already, access to HIV treatment is being cut back. Waiting lists are growing. Despite their repeated rhetorical recognition that investment in health is critical for socio-economic development, governments around the world are retreating from their commitments particularly with regards to universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care."said Paula Akugizibwe from ARASA.

According to Gregory Vergus, Director, “ITPC RU is now receiving daily reports on increasing ARV stock outs across the Russian Federation.  The government is refusing to act and is instead threatening limits on continued ARV access.”

"International funding for AIDS helps pay for critical support services like housing and food without which people with AIDS--nor any of us--could survive. World governments should be ashamed of breaking their promises to people with AIDS.", said Charles King, President and CEO, Housing Works.

The activists will continue their actions throughout the duration of the conference.

The action was endorsed by over 200 AIDS organizations from around the world a full list of which is available at

Photos from Day One (so far...)

Check out the photos from the first day (thus far...). Click on the photo below to see more.

Media Team at work

Finally met one of my personal heros Asia and her and Matt and myself are working on the media strategies in the media center. I learned I need to take photos on my cell phone instead of on my real camera so that I have something to share with you all. more soon.


Activists Interrupt AIDS Ambassador Session

Here is a video of the speeches made by Pauline Londeix of ACT UP Paris and Mark Milano of Health GAP!

Today (Sunday): March to demand full funding of AIDS worldwide!


The world promised to achieve universal access to treatment, prevention, and care by THIS YEAR. But, 10 million people STILL don’t have access to medication. 2.7 million people are STILL becoming infected with HIV. Housing is STILL not generally available for people with AIDS. There are STILL not enough doctors and nurses to care for people. All of these cost money, and governments are STILL not keeping their promise to fund AIDS. Join us to tell all governments to provide the resources to end AIDS.

Rain Location: Inside the main entrance to Messe Wien

Over 200 organizations have endorsed the action. See the full list, and get more information, at

Also, join activist meetings every day (Mon-Thurs) at 8:30am and 7pm in the Global Village North American (USA/Canada) Networking Zone. Come learn about and help plan more actions!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Needles R. Us

I just wanted to do a post of some graffiti that I found yesterday when on one of the most amazing walks I have ever taken. Right now I only have about 5 photos on the card that hooks to this computer otherwise perhaps I would show you the photos frominfiltrating UNAIDS and the LIFEBALL. Perhaps even my elevator pitch to Annie Lennox. None-theless you get my needle shot. I am more of an image person so this is what you get... soon I will have some from the action tonight. maybe one of the people across the table from me... I Currently organizing with the team in the Media Center for the action that will take place shortly for the opening ceremony.

Surprise Attack

My name is Wayne and I'm from Brooklyn NY.I can't believe that I am sitting in Vienna Austria, in front off The World's International Aids Conference 2010 center. Planning an ACTION for opening day. This also is my first time blogging. I am here to let my Government and other wealthy nation's know that they have to STOP Global Aids Funding cuts because PEOPLE are dying. Also Education is the key toPrevention. And to let people know my story.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Video of our questioning of Zeke Emmanuel

Dr. Emmanuel - Don't Retreat! Fund Global AIDS!

Dr. Zeke Emmanuel is an advisor to President Obama (and brother of the White House Chief of Staff). He is speaking at a pre-conference on Health Systems Strengthening and HIV. He has been the primary proponent in the Administration to reduce funding on AIDS, and instead refocus on cheap interventions only, like vaccinations. Because of his position, waiting lists are growing around the world for AIDS treatment.

Five activists disrupted his speech at the pre-Conference. He was clearly unsettled by the action.  He continues to put forward the inaccuracy that the Obama Administration is still committed to the promises made on the campaign trail. How is it not a broken promise to propose to CUT funding for the Global AIDS Fund in 2011? How is it not a broken promise to propose a scant 2% increase in funding overall for global AIDS, when inflation is 3 to 5 times that in Africa? How is it not a broken promise to propose approximately $2.5 billion less in 2011 than what President Obama and Congress agreed to, IN LAW, in 2008?

Carrie Rheingans challenged Dr. Emmanuel. She said that we agree with him that new funding needs to be made available for women and children. But he needs to use his sway to encourage President Obama to keep his promise to fund global AIDS at $50 billion over five years, to save the lives of millions of women and children who would otherwise die.

Dr. Emmanuel said the Administration was committed to keeping it's promise. Now we just need to see the budget evidence of this!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Our flight is not delayed. But Universal Access to Treatment by 2010 sure is...

Team TakeANumber is on it's way to Vienna. Three of us are here at JFK Airport, about to get on the flight and head to the AIDS Conference, where we'll remind the US Government (and the world) that funding global AIDS is critical.

When we get there, we'll be helping to organize a major action at the opening ceremony. Check it out at Sign on to the action, and help us plan! Email me for more info.

Here's a bit about the action:

Join us as AIDS Activists Open the International AIDS Conference!
Sunday, July 18th  17:00 – 19:00
Reed Messe Wien - Main Entrance

Governments around the world are reneging on their commitments toward Universal Access to HIV care, treatment and prevention. The decision by the U.S. government to downgrade the effort on HIV/AIDS is now well-known and documented. European governments are also pulling back in their support for AIDS care, treatment and prevention. Governments in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, have failed to live up to their commitment to fund AIDS treatment and other health needs.  The African Union countries have failed to live up to their Abuja commitments on heath. Already, access to HIV treatment is being cut back. Waiting lists are growing. Drug stock outs are increasing at an alarming rate all over the world.  Instead of meeting Universal Access and MDG targets, governments around the world are retreating from their commitments.

There are many important discussions that will take place during the International AIDS Conference from July 18 – 23rd in Vienna.  However, in order for any of those discussions to have any relevance, ALL conferees must first address the growing crisis in funding for AIDS care and prevention.  All conferees must now become AIDS activists!

More info here.

See you in Vienna, fellow AIDS Activist Rockstars!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Obama Visual

I think I just looked at the graphic on OBAMA's AIDS Plan and you know what I love It.

Can anybody belive the waiting lists here in the US... they are out of control! and yet you think of the lines elsewhere that are really getting the shaft and how they are skyrocketing.

I am at the point I am not sure I even want to be on a waiting list. It makes me sick!


Going to Vienna?

Hey, you! Are you going to Vienna for AIDS2010? Email Kaytee so you can get looped into exciting activist opportunities w/

Want to know what we're up to? Click here.

Also, we're looking for people to help keep this blog updated. Anyone can help, just email Kaytee to get information.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Have you signed the petition yet?

It seems like every day, a new report comes out detailing the catastrophic impact of Obama's decision to break his promise to fund global AIDS programs. People around the world are being forced to take a number and wait in line for life-saving medication they were promised. The reality is that most of those people will not receive medication unless Obama keeps his promise to fund global AIDS programs.

Click here to sign the petition.

We're headed to Vienna! is headed to the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, from July 18-23, to make sure the US Government knows that it is unacceptable to break promises to fund AIDS programs. We're planning high-profile and in-your-face activism. Join us! Email Kaytee to let her know you'll be in Vienna, or you want to help from home.