Magic Johnson, Blair Underwood endorse 2012 AIDS March on Washington

In News by AHF

Business mogul/basketball legend and actor/AIDS advocate join over 2,000 individuals and 1,088 organizations from 78 countries in signing on to the ‘Keep the Promise’ Declaration and March and rally set for Sunday, July 22, 2012, the opening day of the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is honored to announce that business mogul and basketball legend Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, Jr. and actor and AIDS advocate Blair Underwood have each signed on to individually endorse the ‘Keep the Promise on HIV/AIDS’ March set to take place in Washington, DC, Sunday, July 22, 2012 immediately before the opening ceremonies of the International AIDS Society’s XIX International AIDS Conference, which is being held in the United States for the first time in more than 20 years. The ‘Keep the Promise’ rally and march—which organizers anticipate will draw thousands of participants—will serve as a clarion call for universal access to AIDS care and treatment; for more efficient use of the limited funding from sources including the Global Fund and PEPFAR; for big world economies and the G20 to fully fund the Global Fund as well as for the lowering of AIDS drug prices by pharmaceutical companies to allow for the treatment of more patients with the same amount of money.

Johnson and Underwood join over 2,000 other individuals and 1,088 organizations from 78 countries—including the Magic Johnson Foundation—that have signed on to the ‘Keep the Promise’ Declaration.

“We are honored to announce that Magic Johnson and Blair Underwood are among our first individual celebrity endorsers of the 2012 ‘Keep the Promise on HIV/AIDS’ declaration, march and rally in Washington,” said Terri Ford, Senior Director of Global Advocacy and Policy for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and who has spearheaded similar AIDS treatment advocacy marches in conjunction with the opening of three previous International AIDS Conferences (Barcelona, 2002; Toronto, 2006; and Mexico City, 2008). “Mr. Johnson and Mr. Underwood—both respected longtime HIV/AIDS advocates in their own right—join over 1,000 organizations from around the world and more than 2,000 individuals who have endorsed the ‘Keep the Promise’ Declaration and march and rally. The ‘AIDS 2012 Declaration,’—a key component of this current advocacy effort—outlines domestic and global concerns of many AIDS advocates and offers a collective commitment to specific actions and solutions to help address these concerns so that we may all truly ‘keep the promise on HIV/AIDS’.”

“For the first time in over twenty years, the International AIDS Conference takes place in the United States—in Washington—and just a few months before the 2012 presidential election,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “The ‘Keep the Promise on HIV/AIDS’ March presents an ideal opportunity for AIDS advocates and organizations the world over to join together and have our collective voices heard to press US and world leaders to do the right thing on AIDS funding, care and treatment.”

The 2012 ‘Keep the Promise on HIV/AIDS’ March includes a global coalition of founding supporters that have signed on and endorsed the ‘Keep the Promise’ Declaration, which states:

AIDS 2012 Declaration: ‘Keep the Promise on HIV/AIDS’


WHEREAS Globally:


• Every day AIDS claims 5,000 lives.

• Over 14 million people with AIDS are not receiving the treatment they need, and 2 million die each year as a result.

• Less than 40% of people living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries have been tested for HIV and know their status.

• Millions of people affected by HIV/AIDS do not have adequate access to housing and healthcare.

• 16 million children have been orphaned by AIDS, and each year over 400,000 are still born HIV-positive.

• Only 26% of all tuberculosis (YB) patients are tested for HIV globally and only a third access antiretroviral treatment (ART).

• Access to condoms, the most cost-effective prevention tool, remains inconsistent and inadequate.

• The global response to HIV/AIDS is facing a multi-billion dollar shortfall.


WHEREAS in the United States:

• The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) spends less than 30% of its HIV prevention budget on HIV testing.

• Over 8,600 low-income people have been placed on waiting lists or dis-enrolled from AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP).

• The average cost of AIDS medications in the U.S. has increased by 163% over the past 15 years, putting an increased financial burden on ADAP and other programs.

• Washington, DC, the host city of the 2012 International AIDS Conference has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the country at 3%.




As HIV/AIDS advocates, we declare we declare our commitment to the following:

• United States must fulfill its commitment to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) from $6.8 billion (FY 2010) to $10 billion per year.

• The percentage of PEPFAR funding spent on ART must be increased from 24% to 33%.

• Administrative waste and the cost of HIV care must be contained at less than $300 per patient per year to treat more people with available resources.

• Access to healthcare and housing for people affected by HIV/AIDS is a vital component of a response to the epidemic.

• Testing, treatment and care for orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) must be prioritized.

• People living with HIV should be routinely screened for TB, receive preventative therapy and be put on TB-HIV treatment in case of co-infection. All TB patients should be regularly tested for HIV.

• Sufficient funding must be secured to eliminate ADAP waiting lists in the US and provide affordable treatment to all who need it.

• Pharmaceutical companies must lower AIDS drug prices so that more people can access lifesaving ART.

• Big world economies and the G20 must fully fund the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and pay their fair share.

• Economic, political and logistical barriers to universal condom access must be overcome.

• Universal Access to rapid HIV testing, treatment and care must be achieved through cost-effective measures and fair-share contributions to the global fight against AIDS.



We call on all AIDS leaders and advocates to pledge to these goals at the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C.


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Background on the 2012 XIX International AIDS Conference

According to the website of the International AIDS Society, “The return of the International AIDS Conference to the United States in July 2012 represents a significant victory for public health and human rights. The selection of Washington, DC as the site for the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) is the result of years of dedicated advocacy to end the nation’s misguided entry restrictions on people living with HIV – restrictions that were based on fear, rather than science.

The biennial International AIDS Conference is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policymakers, people living with HIV and others committed to ending the epidemic. It will be a tremendous opportunity for researchers from around the world to share the latest scientific advances in the field, learn from one another’s expertise, and develop strategies for advancing all facets of our collective efforts to treat and prevent HIV.

AIDS 2012 is expected to convene more than 25,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries, including more than 2,500 journalists. The conference will be held from 22 to 27 July 2012 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The International AIDS Society, the world’s leading independent association of HIV professionals, with 14,000 members in 190 countries, will organize AIDS 2012 in collaboration with our international and local partners.”

For more information on the 2012 ‘Keep the Promise on HIV/AIDS’ March in Washington or to sign up and join as an endorsing and supporting organization, please visit or Join the March!

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