AMSA Mobilizes for World AIDS Day!

December 09, 2015

This World AIDS Day AMSA Chapters across the country held events at their school, rallies at their Capitols, and legislative visits with their elected officials urging them to scale up treatment to end the AIDS epidemic!

This is a particularly important time since we are fighting hard to restore funding to a vital US AIDS treatment and prevention program–PEPFAR–in the ongoing budget negotiations!  Hopefully our hard work will pay off when the budget is finalized in the coming days!

See some highlights from events at AMSA chapters below!

VCU Chapter holds Events and Legislative Meeting for World AIDS Day

The VCU AMSA Chapter organized multiple events in a World AIDS Day Series to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic and the important ethical, racial, and socioeconomic issues surrounding the disease. They hosted several lectures that focused on the latest HIV/AIDS research, treatment, and personal experiences from individuals living with HIV.

“It was so special to be involved with VCU AMSA’s events leading up to World AIDS Day. Through a series of lectures and discussions we learned about the current focus of HIV research, we were let into the life of an ID physician, and got a better appreciation for how HIV affects our community. We heard stories and took advice from a panel of patients who appeared as different as could be, yet who all shared the diagnosis. We felt inspiration and pride as we all wore red on December 1st and as we met with our Senators to advocate for this population domestically and abroad. Collectively this made for a great experience and was a highlight of my first semester of medical school.” -Bret Clawson, VCU School of Medicine Class of 2019

Boston Area Medical Students Meet with Senator Warren’s Office

Medical students from BU (Sarah Carpenter, Jamie Lim, Katrina Ciraldo), Tufts (Robbie Patterson), and Harvard (Darshali Vyas) went to Sen Warren’s Boston office on November 25 to urge the Senator to be a champion for adding $300M to PEPFAR by reaching out to Sen Leahy  a leader of the appropriations subcommittee handling global health funds).

“We pleaded to her [staffer] that Warren is a voice of moral authority, and a true humanitarian, especially recently with the Syrian refugee comments she has made. We tried to say that she doesn’t need to wait for others to take the lead and that lives are hanging in the balance”

University of New Mexico SOM Chapter holds a Legislative Visit with Senator Udall

Members of the University of New Mexico SOM AMSA Chapter visited with Senator Udall’s office to urge him to contact key leadership to restore $300m in vital funds to PEPFAR.  Great job!

Clemson University and University of South Carolina SOM Join Forces in Columbia along with HealthGAP and Student Global AIDS Campaign to Urge Senator Graham to Restore $300m to PEPFAR!

Near the Columbia Capitol Building

Prepping materials for the demo at USC SOM

The finished product!

University of South Carolina SOM and Clemson University AMSA Chapters met near the Columbia statehouse for a demo with HealthGAP and Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC) leaders along with a representative from a local AIDS organization, Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services (PALSS). 

Members then went to Senator Lindsey Graham’s office in Columbia to meet with staff to urge Senator Graham to restore $300m to PEPFAR in this budget cycle. They presented the office with a letter signed by 10 organizations in SC urging Senator Graham to restore funding along with a small prop highlighting what the $300m restoration to PEPFAR will  achieve (see below).

“This was a great opportunity for multiple organizations to collaborate on the common goal of ending AIDS.  We know that if we scale up treatment we can end the epidemic, but we need strong leadership to get there!  This is why we are putting pressure on Senator Graham to restore funds to PEPFAR this budget cycle”

With Senator Graham’s staff in Columbia


AMSA AIDS Advocacy Network Attends WAD Rally to Fight Racism in Medicine and Lower Drug Costs

Shima Ge, AIDS Advocacy Network Steering Committee Member, speaking at a WAD rally in DC asking for lower drug prices and an end to racism in medicine

And Texas Tech AMSA Members held events in Lubbock on World AIDS Day–bonus points for getting their events featured in their school paper!

Did your chapter hold an event for World AIDS Day?  Let us know!  Contact eaf@amsa.org.  Visit AMSA’s AIDS Advocacy Network page to find out more about AMSA’s work in the fight to End AIDS!  Contact the AAN chair at aan.chair@amsa.org to get involved.