For Immediate Release – Protesters lay flowers for the dead on steps of Philippines Embassy – demand end to state-sponsored murders

For Immediate Release – Protesters lay flowers for the dead on steps of Philippines Embassy – demand end to state-sponsored murders

LONDON – 13th October 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-12-36-10 screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-12-36-32 screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-12-36-42

Protestors wearing white and carrying flowers staged a demonstration outside the Philippines Embassy in London yesterday calling for an end to the wave of murders which have taken place since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed power in June.

Over 3500 people have become the victims of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines in the last four months following a pledge by the new President to “wipe out” drug users, urging the public to kill them and promising police immunity from prosecution for the deaths. The demonstrators handed in a letter to the embassy staff, calling on the government to bring an end to the killings, which they say brings shame on the country.

Drug user rights activist, Brun González, and Chair of the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD) said,

This state-sponsored campaign of murder is an international outrage. We are here to send a simple message to the government of the Philippines: it must end now.

Duterte is encouraging the police and public to drag people from their beds and shoot them in the street – he is brutally ending lives, destroying families and bringing global shame on his country. The killings must stop, and those responsible brought to justice.”

Duterte has made aggressive remarks to other state leaders and used extremely offensive and negative historical references as a standard mode of advocating in favour of his actions. But the campaign of violence, which he called for in his election campaign and initiated within hours of his victory, is the most controversial aspect of his leadership. Police officers have admitted the relentless series of killings are sanctioned and coordinated by the senior leadership.

Mare Tralla from HIV activist group ACTUP London said,

Drug users are amongst the most vulnerable people in a society and these killings are a barbaric attack on innocent life. These murders are horrific in and of themselves, but they will also hugely undermine HIV prevention efforts and lead to a hundreds of new infections and an increase in AIDS related deaths by driving people away from health services.”

The whole world is watching in disgust as the Filippino government dehumanises and attacks its own people. This is a stain on the nation and we call on them to put an end to these killings immediately.”

The protestors handed in a letter calling on Duterte to act, and laid blood stained flowers on the embassy steps. They also called on Theresa May and Boris Johnson to ensure the UK is doing all it can to end the violence.

### END ###


Jay Levy – INPUD: 07990818720;

Notes to Editors:

The International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD) is a global peer-based organisation that seeks to promote the health and defend the rights of people who use drugs.

ACT UP London is a diverse group of individuals united in anger and committed to direct action to end the HIV pandemic.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) UK is a grassroots network of young people advocating for better drug policies that protect and inform young people

Photos – Peter Marshall

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 13.46.57

For Immediate Release – Activists condemn Chevron’s hypocritical sponsorship of AIDS 2016 conference

For Immediate Release -22/07/16 – Activists condemn Chevron’s hypocritical sponsorship of AIDS 2016 conference

On the final day of AIDS 2016 in Durban today, activists staged a protest at the corporate booth of conference sponsor, Chevron. Holding posters showing images of the environmental and health disasters caused by the huge petro-chemical company, they demanded an end to the hypocrisy of their sponsorship whilst they continue to undermine human rights and the environment around the world.

Chevron is a major contributor to climate change – an existential threat to global health – and is responsible for a large number of environmental catastrophes across Africa and Latin America. The consequences of its oil extraction in the Ecuadorian Amazon have been described as ‘one of the worst oil related disasters on the planet’.

As well as having a devastating effect on the environment, poorly designed and badly managed oil extraction infrastructure has led to leaks and contamination that have caused serious health issues for the communities living nearby.

The protesters held images of environmental disasters caused by Chevron in Ecuador and Nigeria, as well as a photograph of a woman and her family who has endured sickness and disease as a result of the Chevron operations near her home. The posters read, st Diarmaid McDonald from ACT UP London called on Chevron and IAS to end their partnership.

We cannot allow Chevron to use its investment in HIV care for its workers – a basic corporate responsibility – to distract us from the significant, persistent and horrific consequences of its operating model on the health of people and the planet.

We demand that Chevron stop profiteering by exploiting poor communities and the environment and call on them to take full financial responsibility for the disasters they have caused. In particular we demand that they fully compensate all those who have developed health problems as a result of Chevron’s operations, and cease all operations in areas where they pose a threat to health.”

Finally we call on the International AIDS Society to end its relationship with Chevron, and cease to accept funding from corporations complicit in actions which undermine the fundamental right to health. We will be writing to the International AIDS Society today and we expect a prompt response.”


Contact: Diarmaid McDonald

For more on Chevron’s record on health and the environment please see: rights-impacts- of-oil- pollution-ecuador- 6

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 13.46.34 Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 13.46.42 Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 13.46.57 AIDS activi

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 08.55.17

August 2nd 6pm – ACT UP London Public Presentation of our 2016 – 2017 Mission and Demands

ACT UP LONDON Public Presentation – Our 2016 – 2017 Mission – Tuesday August 2nd 6-8pm. 345 City Road London EC1V 1LR – (nearest tube – Angel) – Facebook page here  – Everyone Welcome!

Public meeting to hear, critique and respond to ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) LONDON’s new Mission, Demands, Political Organising Principles and Annual Campaign Plan. 

ACT UP London is a diverse group of individuals united in anger and committed to direct action to end the HIV pandemic. Cuts to services, rising transmission levels, and the common mistaken belief that HIV was resolved in the 1980s results in what we call this current phase of the epidemic the ‘HIV Second Silence’.

Whilst there has been wide ranging responses and agitation from ACT UP LONDON on a wide range of issues facing our HIV/ Hepatitis community – with record – level rising HIV diagnosis we need to up-the-anti. At our recent ACT UP ‘Think In’ we drafted the new Mission, Demands, Political Organising Principles and Annual Campaign Plan.

On the evening of August 2nd we will be presenting these and invite everyone old and new to ACT UP LONDON to feed in. The evening is welcome to everyone wanting to get stuck in a fierce creative street activism to help end the HIV / Hepatitis pandemic.

There are limited spaces. Please email if you would like to attend. It is free and wheelchair accessible.

Here is a taster of our revised 2016 draft mission statement. 

ACT UP London believes that ending the HIV pandemic does not stop at healthcare but involves the wider community. There are many interconnected issue that impact on the HIV pandemic
The “Second Silence”, must be challenged both locally and on a wider scale. HIV transmission rates are increasing and we believe part of that is due to HIV fading from the public consciousness.
We fight to challenge the stigma that still surrounds HIV.
We believe in the liberation of sexuality and sex positivity.
We are feminist women and pro-feminist men.
We believe that race, culture, religion; misogyny, sexism and homophobia; poverty, poor education; being told you’re no good, you’re useless, are important issues to an understanding of the oppression that individuals with HIV face.
We fight for migrant rights because we see war, invasion, terrorism; pollution and drought caused by global warming as the prime cause of migration. We believe that positive migrants should be able to access the same free HIV services that we have.
We urge you to come out and invite you to overthrow your inhibitions by being active instead of the passive spectator.


Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 11.24.26

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 19.07.16 – Obama Gets “BIG THANK YOU” from Big Pharma at 2016 International AIDS Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 19, 2016, Durban – Obama Gets “BIG THANK YOU” from Big Pharma at 2016 International AIDS Conference

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 11.24.26


Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 11.24.37

Pictures available here: 

Video available here:

At the 2016 International AIDS Conference held in Durban, South Africa, treatment access advocates presented a huge greeting card addressed to President Obama from Big Pharma to US Ambassador Patrick Gaspard, thanking the US government for “doing big pharma’s bidding all over the world”.

The activists, acting in the role of Big Pharma execs, sang “we want to thank you, thank you” and chanted “USA! USA!” They lavished praise on the Ambassador for the US pursuit of the interests of the pharmaceutical industry at the expense of access to affordable medicines, including pressuring India to curtail its legal generic medicine industry, and attacks on an initiative of the UN Secretary General to address access to medicine challenges.

The action was a reflection of the widespread anger at the disconnect between the positive rhetoric of President Obama on HIV, and the aggressive pursuit of trade and intellectual property policies which serve to increase pharmaceutical profits but undermine global health.

In particular, the US government is:

  • Exerting significant and sustained pressure on the Indian government to close down the legal space for the Indian generic pharmaceutical industry – the source of over 80% of HIV medicines used in the developing world
  • Vocally undermining the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Access to Medicines, an initiative established to address the growing challenge facing governments in the West and the Global South in securing affordable, quality medicines
  • Insisting that the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement include dozens of measures to expand and extend drug monopolies and raise drug prices. Doctors Without Borders calls the TPP “the worst trade deal ever for access to affordable medicines”
  • Placing countries who explore policy options to secure access to medicines on the Special “301” list enabling trade retaliation by the US if they do not abide by Big Pharma-supported intellectual property policies.
  • Opposing efforts at the Human Rights Council, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other agencies to address drug pricing concerns in developing countries.
  • Refusing to let generic drug companies use the government’s rights in drug patents, to sell affordable generic versions of Xtandi, a prostate cancer drug, in South Africa and other developing countries.

In the discussion with activists, Ambassador Gaspard acknowledged: “we don’t always get it right”. On Monday at a 10,000-strong Treatment for All march he said: “we think it’s outrageous that some put profits before health”.

Diarmaid McDonald, an activist from ACT UP London, said:

The stakes are very high – the US is committing huge resources to boost the profits of big pharma at the cost of the lives of people waiting for access to lifesaving medicines. The US Government has diligently defended Big Pharma’s interests in countries where people die due to unaffordable medicine prices. Treatment activists from around the world agree that this must stop.

We hope that the Ambassador will hear our message and push President Obama and US Trade Representative Froman to end the US Government pressure on governments around the world to put private profits ahead of public health.”

Jamie Love, the Director of Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), said:

There is no more reliable and persistent ally of big pharma than the Obama Administration.  Just ask the many former officials now working as lobbyists for the drug companies. When Joe Biden is not presenting himself as a working class hero, he is pressuring India over its patent policies, or Colombia over its biosimilar rules. Ambassador Froman has big pharma talking points and pseudo facts memorized, gives almost zero face time with treatment advocates, gives drug companies preferred access to negotiating texts, and twists arms behind closed doors. Kerry has allowed the State department to be a taxpayer paid bully for big pharma, at the expense of poor people who are sick. Collectively, they have been worse than the George W. Bush administration on these issues.”

Ambassador Patrick Gaspard committed to meeting with activists before the end of September.



Notes to editors:

The International AIDS Conference is taking place in Durban this week. About 14,000 people living with HIV, researchers, government representatives, have convened in Durban over the past week to discuss the funding crises in HIV and TB alongside cutting-edge science.

Link to Ambassador Gaspard’s tweet that “civil society needs to be aggressive”:

Reporting on US opposition to the UN HighLevel Panel:

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 16.40.30

For Immediate Release – ‘HIV Blind Date’ reaches International Stardom as hosts at international AIDS Conference

For Immediate Release 15.07.16. – ‘HIV Blind Date’ reaches International Stardom as hosts at international AIDS Conference

‘HIV Blind Date’ will make its international launch on the Global Village stage of the International AIDS Conference 2016 in Durban, South Africa on July 18th 2016. For the show’s global launch, the contestants in the show will be from 4 different continents to strengthen the global struggle to end the HIV / AIDS pandemic.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 16.40.30

‘HIV BLIND DATE‘ is a theatre dating- show for people living with HIV / HEP C to share the realities of life, love and struggle. Utilising the UK TV show ‘Blind Date’’’s well-known format, the show exposes the lived realities of people living with HIV and HEP C’s love lives, fears and hopes. HIV Blind Date started in East London’s queer cabaret club ‘The Glory’ on World AIDS Day 2015. It was created by the London chapter of ‘Aids Coalition to Unleash Power’ (ACT UP LONDON) and a wide range of HIV community groups across the UK. Since then the show has been requested in a wide range of clubs, hospitals and community groups.

‘HIV Blind Date’ aims to raise awareness of HIV stigma and to recruit for activism against pharmaceutical corruption, and government’ cuts to HIV support services and inaction on HIV prevention. ‘HIV Blind Date’ offers a template to combine dance, performance, live music, stunts and  spoken word to tell true life stories of people living with and affected by the virus. The show is being financially supported by a global crowdfunding campaign of HIV activists.

Silvia Petretti, leading woman living with HIV and activist in the UK and CEO of Positively UK and part of the shows production, says,

“People living with HIV continue to be often represented as victims.So often, we are stigmatised in our society; treated as passive recipients of resources, or silenced and invisibilized altogether. HIV Blind date is the perfect platform to showcase our power, resilience and humour in face of adversity. Above all it is an opportunity to get together as a community and celebrate our lives and capacity to resist, rebel and be creative.”

Dan Glass from ACT UP London says,

“The HIV pandemic is far from over. For many the HIV / AIDS is a tired, old story. In order to refresh energy we need to create provocative, flamboyant, glamorous, rowdy, insightful, moving and surprising responses to explore and expose the realities of HIV in today’s society. This is why we look forward to joining Cilla for a fun packed evening where we’ll vajazzle stigma and celebrate the anger, sweatiness and fabulous fierceness of the community living with HIV and hepatitis across the world! All proceeds go to creative street activism to end the HIV pandemic”


Notes to Editors / Journalists 

  1. Global Village Theatre, Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) 45 Bram Fischer Road Durban 4001 South Africa
  2. ACTUP London is a revitalised chapter of the non-partisan international movement, founded in 1987, united in anger and committed to direct action to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic. ACT UP London is a diverse group of individuals united in anger. We are committed to direct action to end the HIV pandemic. We are committed to fighting to end all inequalities and injustices that perpetuate it. We are part of the global ACT UP network. AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) is an international direct action advocacy group working to impact the lives of people with AIDS (PWAs) and the AIDS pandemic to bring about legislation, medical research and treatment and policies to ultimately bring an end to the disease by mitigating loss of health and lives.
  3. Crowdfunding page – – please donate what you can!
Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 08.55.17

Stand Up For Prep! Rally outside the Royal Courts of Justice – 13.07.16 – 9.30am

This Wednesday morning at the Royal Courts of Justice, the National AIDS Trust are launching a legal battle to push the NHS and the Department of Health into providing the “revolutionary” HIV medication ‘PREP.’ Let’s support them and say loudly ‘WHAT DO WE WANT? PREP! WHEN DO WE WANT IT NOW? NOW!’ Facebook event page here

Last week we took to the streets with the rally outside the Department of Health – see this – this week we will take to the courts. Along with a wide coalition of HIV / AIDS / Healthcare groups, people are standing up in their numbers to demand PREP with one clear vision – ‘Release PREP for all! Healthcare for All!’

Join us Wednesday 13th of July outside the Royal Courts of Justice – 10.00am – Strand, London WC2A 2LL, London. Please wear blue to represent the colour of this life saving drug.

Email with any press / general involvment requests. ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) are a group of individuals united in anger and committed to direct action to end the HIV


Pre exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a HIV prevention intervention – it can prevent transmission of HIV if taken by those who are HIV negative and at risk of contracting the virus. If taken correctly it is almost 100% effective in preventing HIV, evidence for its effectiveness has been available for over 5 years. PrEP is already available in the US, France, Canada, Kenya and soon to be in Australia and others. HIV prevention involves a combination of approaches, and will continue to do so; this includes condom use, regular HIV testing and ‘treatment as prevention’ (increasing treatment coverage to reduce community viral load). However, the number of newly diagnosed people in the UK has remained the same for the past decade – PrEP has the potential to change this; it is a game changing drug.

NHS England (NHSE) has repeatedly claimed that it is not responsible for the commissioning of PrEP, despite it already commissioning post exposure prophylaxis (PEP – drugs which can prevent transmission of the virus if taken soon enough after exposure). NHSE believe it’s appropriate to delegate such an important public health strategy to 150 separate local authorities. We disagree – this involves zero national strategic direction, not all authorities can afford and this will essentially lead to a HIV postcode lottery. Along with other HIV charities, advocacy groups and professional networks, the National AIDS Trust (NAT) also strongly disagree. NAT are currently challenging this shameful decision through the courts with a judicial review. Learn more about the campaign so far on their website:

Transmission rates in the UK have been rising for the past 10 years and are now at their highest ever, despite condoms and anti-retrovirals being available. PrEP is a game-changing new force in the battle against HIV that has the power to change this. 17 people are diagnosed with HIV every day in the UK and this will continue to happen until NHSE accept responsibility and stop causing more and more delays. So far, the NHS has delayed making PrEP available for over 18 months, that’s 9,000 transmissions that could have been different. We have the tools and the evidence to fight this, yet it’s still not happening.

Please join us to be #United4PrEP



Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 07.10.49

‘Release PREP NOW!’ Report from the front-lines of Stand Up for PREP!

‘We have the tools to prevent HIV transmissions, but the NHS is withholding the drugs. These protestors are leading the fight back.’ – Ed Siddons, I.D. Magazine

On the evening of July 7th 2016 numerous angry protesters gathered outside the dept of health to express their outrage at the lack of access to PrEP in the UK. 17 people a day are diagnosed with HIV in the UK and this will continue to happen until free access to PrEP is available. ACT UP LONDON led the rally and placed 17 people prominently above the crowd each holding messages as to why they would have been 1 of the 17 diagnosed with HIV that day. These included all the contributing factors to what seems like a never ending debate – the shameful passing of the funding ‘buck’ between NHSE England and local authorities, the unnecessary and unrepresentative proposed pilot scheme, inability to afford PrEP online or privately and more.

The rally was broadcast live on the London Live channel as well as Gay Star News online. The United4PrEP coalition is a group of the UKs major HIV charities, advocacy groups, clinicians and activists. The coalition has been campaigning for months to push the NHS to fund PrEP. Alongside this the National AIDS Trust is in the process of a judicial review against NHS England on the grounds of their refusal to access being unethical and discriminatory. This rally demonstrated anger from the United4PrEP coalition as well as the public about the rising HIV transmissions and the governments total inaction to help improve this. There were speeches from Terrence Higgins Trust, the National AIDS Trust, African Eye Trust, Out and Proud African group, ACT UP and Alex Craddock from

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 08.08.40

The court date is next week on the 13th July.We submitted a letter of demands to the Department of Health and are awaiting a response by July 14th. All information at – please email to get stuck in.

Testimonials in Support of ‘STAND UP FOR PREP!’

“I Stand Up For a national PrEP programme because this and only this will have an impact on the health of our nation.” Dr Mags Portman – HIV consultant at Central and North West London NHS Trust

“We have delayed implementing PrEP in the UK for too long and to continue to deny access to those who most need it will result in unnecessary HIV infections and avoidable costs to the NHS of life-time HIV treatment and care.” Dr Michael Brady – HIV Consultant Kings College Hospital

“Black gay people in the UK also need PrEP to prevent HIV infections” Elijah Amooti from African Eye Trust and chair of the European African Treatment Advocates Network (EATAN)

“Today we see that same passion and commitment among the LGBT and HIV communities, demanding that we have the necessary tools to finally bring about an end to new HIV infections. GMFA and other organisations are united with doctors, nurses, experts in HIV research and public health in calling for PrEP to be made available to those who need it most. “We fought then and we continue the fight now.” Matthew Hodson – CEO of GMFA (Gay Men Fight AIDS)

“Women continue to be substantially affected by HIV in the UK. We need to ensure that we have high quality prevention approaches which increase women’s choices and agency. Historically we know very well that enforcing condoms can be very hard for us, that is why we need PrEP for women too.” Silvia Petretti, the CEO of Positively UK stresses the importance of PrEP for women

“I was originally given PrEP and all support services for free when I lived in New York, yet now being back home in London, I am being forced to buy my PrEP online from websites based in South Asia at a cost of £45 a month, which I’m struggling to afford. The NHS is still refusing to fulfil its duty of providing me and thousands of others with medical care and HIV services. In response to this, we created, the only place in the UK which tells people where they can buy PrEP safely and affordably online, so anyone who wants it can stop themselves being at high-risk of HIV without having to wait for an end to NHS bureaucracy and budget cuts.” Alex Craddock from and a PrEP user.



All information at – please email to get stuck in.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 07.10.56

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 07.11.41Photos – Mike Kear, Peter Marshall  / Videos – Out and Proud Diamond Group, Paolo Zeriali