Documentary blames deaths on high medicine prices

By Gus Bode

AIDS activists show second screening of ‘Pills, Profits, Protests’

Factoid:For more information, go to www.pillsprofitsprotest.org. A free second screening will be held 7 p.m. Friday at the Big Muddy IMC located at 214 N. Washington St. A presentation will follow by Aaron Deutsch, an HIV counselor with the Jackson County Health Department.

The number of people dying from HIV/AIDS is increasing, and a second screening of a documentary blaming these deaths on the high price of medicine will be shown Friday.

Advertisement

“Pills, Profits, Protests:Voices of Global AIDS Activists,” by Anne-Christine d’Adesky and Ann Rosetti, was shown Tuesday night as part of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Month. A second screening will take place Friday Night at the Big Muddy Media Center.

The documentary followed global grassroots groups protesting from South Africa, India, Haiti, Brazil and Uganda where medicine prices are controlled by the pharmaceutical industry and are not readily available to the more than 38 million people infected with HIV outside the United States.

Steven St. Julian, HIV outreach and prevention coordinator, gave a presentation after the documentary and said the people shown in the documentary were victims on the fine line of death because they did not have access to medicine or proper care.

“We need to be warriors. We need to all be screaming queens,” St. Julian said on the fight against pharmaceutical companies.

St. Julian was diagnosed with HIV in October 1987. This year, he said he would celebrate 20 years of being positive. He said there are numerous misconceptions about AIDS and HIV.

“This is not a gay man’s disease, a Haitian disease, it’s a world disease,” St. Julian said. “I don’t look like I’m sick. I’m fat, I’m wrinkly, and a lot of us think we can tell what AIDS looks like.”

St. Julian said people today should know everyone is at risk no matter race or sexual orientation.

Advertisement

Stressing the importance of getting tested for AIDS, St. Julian recalled his experience of learning he was positive.

“It took me seven years before I had the guts to get tested, I waited there four hours. The counselor came up and asked me 10 times if I really wanted to know. He opened the folder, shut it and said with a smile, you are positive,” St. Julian said.

Alison McCabe, a sophomore studying journalism, said even though she came to the event as a class assignment, she thought St. Julian presentation was interesting.

St. Julian brought out a Walgreen’s plastic bag and turned it upside down dropping several bottles of medicine on the stage. The empty bottles were remnants of a year’s supply of medicine that fit into one plastic bag.

“There’s hope with medicines,” St. Julian said. “My prognosis is dying of old age.”

Hilary R. Matheson can be reached at [email protected]

Advertisement