On the 24th of July, five separate elements of the “We Can End AIDS” march converged on the White House after marching to separate targets. About a dozen people were arrested at the White House after tying medicine pouched and dollar bills to the White House fence, then sitting down.
I stayed with the Human Rights/End Criminalization feeder, which marched on UPS to demand that they stop financing politicians who vote to put people in prison for testing HIV positive and having sex. Two people who have been convicted for having sex while HIV positive spoke in front of UPS about facing decades in prison (one served six months) and lifetime sex offender registry.
UPS is the largest campaign cash donor to Rep (Dendy?) Rayburn, the Congrressman responsible for reinstating a ban on the use of Federal money for needle exchange. Needle exchange is a proven strategy to reduce HIV transmission among drug user, but is unacceptable to US “cultural conservatives” and their fat campaign cash pockets.
If UPS is going to give money to politicians who lock up Gay men, sex workers, and IV drug users, they can be punished by denying them business and going to their competitors for all shipping service. Gay men can literally “go postal” on UPS’s financial support for criminalizing HIV by shipping with the Post Office instead!
The other target of the march against criminalizing HIV was Wells Fargo, notorious investor in the GEO Group, owner of private prisons all over the US.
Of course, there are several obvious defenses against such laws, but most of them do increase the prevalence of HIV. They include boycotting HIV testing/treatment, keeping sex anonymous, and measures to block contact tracing.
During the 1980’s, I met many Gay men who bought guns because of the 1986-era AIDS quarantine talk stirred up by Lyndon Larouche and various right-wing homophobes. That talk dropped off the radar after a Gay porn magazine ran a story about a heavily armed Gay militia in NEw Mexico, never to appear again. Now, however, 35 states have criminalized having sex while HIV positive, and people who are not hard core street outlaws are the folks these laws mostly catch.