Tuesday, September 22, 2009
A group of protester gathered downtown a few days before the beginning of the G20 Pittsburgh Summit to call for more funding for AIDS treatment worldwide. The event began with a rally at the corner of Grant St. and Liberty Ave where speakers called for the leaders of the G20 nations to not only talk about climate change and economic recovery at this week’s meeting but to also focus and what they say is the 70% of the world population that does not have access to HIV AIDS treatment. Jennifer Flynn with the group Health Global Access Project organized the event. She says President Barack Obama promised during the campaign to fully fund the Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria to the tune of $50 billion dollars and she says nearly all of the other member nations did the same. However, she says funding for the program has been “flat lined.” Flynn says that has lead to many nations simply running out of aids fighting drugs. Flynn warns that not only will that lead to more deaths, it will also lead to he various diseases become stronger and more drug resistant. She says every year 30 million people die from AIDS and HIV worldwide and the leaders of the G20 nations have the power to change that. Flynn is also calling on the G20 ministers to put pressure on drug makers to lower their prices. She says pumping money into the program helps today but lower drug prices could lead to poorer nations being able to buy the drugs with out international help. The Marchers were under the watchful eye of police during the entire event but they were allowed to march under and around the convention center carrying signs and chanting for change. Similar groups were not allowed to access that same route over the weekend.