March #45 : Mean Streets - by Gabi Horn

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Table of Contents

Dog Days in Malibu

Breathless

Born in Flames

Gay Guru

Soldier of Fortune

Rare Gem

Marathon Man

On the Waterfront

Race With the Angels

Mean Streets

S.O.S.

To the Editor

Ticket to Ride

Death by Disclosure

Slip Off the Old Block

Poster of the Month: Ruff Times

FYI

Say What

HIV in the Hood

No Brownie Points

Grades for AIDS

French Twist

Southern Discomfort

Sister Act Up

Sister Act Up

POZ Biz

POZarazzi: Call It a Day

Verse: Terminal Girl

Primary Concerns

Obits

Naming Names

Fast Company

Junk Mail

Life After Legacy

Spin Doctors

PWAs’ Best Friend

What’s Up, Doc?

HIV’s Incredible Endgame

The ABCs of Baby AZT

Hit the Dirt

Selling Sustiva

Publish or Perish

Best of the Rest

Where to Find It

What a Waste

Full Disclosure

People, Their Pets and Pet Peeves

Parental Guidance

Aunt Evelyn's Letters



Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


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March 1999

Mean Streets

by Gabi Horn

NYPD crackdown on PWA activism

Little love has been lost between the New York Police Department and the city's activists with HIV. But two incidents last fall marked what may be a new level of animus in Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's official relations with his city's empowered PWAs. It all began in October, when a rowdy 6,000-strong march to protest the murder of gay Wyoming student Matthew Shepard spilled into the rush-hour midtown streets, drawing a massive NYPD response and ending in 136 arrests, numerous injuries and multiple lawsuits against the city by pissed-off PWAs. Due to a policy that orders meds confiscated upon arrest, five PWAs spent 19 hours in custody with no access to their antiretrovirals. "By the time I missed my second dose, I was scared for my life," said John Irizarry, 28. "I'm on salvage therapy: If my virus becomes resistant, there's nothing else I can take." Besides compensation for the missed doses -- "which cannot be replaced if the virus breaks through," noted Irizarry's doc, Paul Bellman -- the plaintiffs are pushing for a court-ordered change in the NYPD's pill policy. At presstime, the suit was pending.

Then, in November, local AIDS group Housing Works sued the city after PWAs were denied the right to commemorate World AIDS Day on the steps of City Hall. Federal Judge Harold Baer Jr. ruled in Housing Works' favor -- and against officials who claimed that the threat of terrorism forces it to close the steps to events not of "extraordinary public interest." Noting a recent city-sponsored rally at the same location, Baer wrote: "Who's to say that celebrating the Yankees' World Series victory is a more or less extraordinary event than World AIDS Day? After all, it's estimated that 30.6 million people are living with HIV worldwide." Despite the courtroom coup, December 1 proved tense for those greeted at City Hall with snipers, metal detectors and hundreds of cops. "Giuliani came onto the steps and instructed police to construct barricaded pens to corral us through," said Housing Works' Charles King. "That he thinks 200 PWAs demonstrating in front of City Hall represents a terrorist threat is disgusting."




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