February 1987. Burroughs Wellcome announces price of AZT will be $10,000 a year.
February 1987. At CDC conference in Atlanta on mandatory HIV testing, Lavender Hill Mob dons concentration-camp uniforms and unfurls banner, "test drugs, not people."
March 1987. At NYC’s Lesbian/Gay Community Center, Larry Kramer gives speech decrying NIH/FDA footdragging on AIDS drug development, calls for “a new organization devoted solely to political action.”
March 1987. Two days later, about 75 lesbians and gay men found a new activist group, later named ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power).
March 1987. ACT UP’s first demo takes place on Wall Street; 250 protest drug-company profiteering, AIDS discrimination and FDA delays in approving drugs. FDA Commissioner Frank Young burned in effigy; 17 arrested.
March 1987. After the demo, FDA announces two-year reduction in drug-approval processs. CBS News’ Dan Rather credits ACT UP.
May 1987. PWA Coalition/NY forms Community Research Initiative, the first PWA-led drug-testing program.
May 1987. President Reagan is jeered by activists at his first AIDS speech, delivered at an AmFAR fundraiser in Washington.
June 1987. 64 activists arrested by rubber-gloved police in front of White House. At International AIDS Conference, Vice President Bush heckled while calling for mandatory testing.
June 1987. Reagan creates Presidential AIDS Commission; includes right-wing activists.
September 1987. ACT UP/NY protests inadequacies of Presidential AIDS Commission.
September 1987. Commission’s chair and vice-chair resign.
October 1987. AIDS activists from 12 cities join Lesbian/Gay March on Washington, then form ACT NOW (AIDS Coalition To Network, Organize and Win), later renamed ACT UP Network.
February 1988. ACT UP/NY testifies before Presidential Commission, proposing registry of AIDS clinical trials.
March 1988. Wall Street II action marks ACT UP/NY’s first birthday with similar demands; 700 marchers, 111 arrests.
April-May 1988. 50 ACT UP chapters mount nine days of coordinated protests.
May 1988. ACT UP/NY disrupts hearings of Reagan’s Civil Rights Commission on the “right” to discriminate against PWAs.
June 1988. Presidential Commission issues critical report, including several ACT UP demands.
June 1988. Chicago for AIDS Rights (later to become ACT UP/Chicago) protest price jumps by Lyphomed for aerosol pentamadine (new PCP prophylaxis drug).
Late 1988. Lyphomed reduces the price of aerosol pentamadine.
July 1988. At Lesbian and Gay Health Conference in Boston, demonstrators disrupt speech of FDA head Frank Young and stage die-in.
July 1988. FDA’s Young authorizes importation of unapproved drugs for PWAs’ personal use.
October 1988. 1,000 ACT NOW protesters close down the FDA in Rockville, Maryland, protesting slow pace of AIDS drug approval; 175 arrested.
1988-89. FDA drastically speeds up AIDS-drug approval process, eases access to experimental drugs; in 1992 FDA adopts “accelerated approval” (interim licensing)
February 1989. At an NIH hearing, ACT UP/NY protests FDA’s denial of access to experimental CMV drug DHPG (ganciclovir).
February 1989. FDA makes DHPG available under “compassionate use.” In May, FDA approves DHPG for marketing.
March 1989. ACT UP/NY’s “Target City Hall” brings 3,000 people to protest Major Ed Koch’s AIDS policies; 200 arrested, dozens of women strip-searched.
April 1989. Four ACT UP/NY members arrested after barricading themselves inside Burroughs Wellcome’s office in North Carolina, demanding AZT’s price be cut.
June 1989. In Montreal, 300 ACT NOW and Canadian activists seize the stage at the 5th International AIDS Conference. ACT UP/NY unveils first National AIDS Treatment Research Agenda.
June 1989. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), reverses opposition to ACT UP’s proposed “parallel track” (earlier access to new drugs); ddI is soon released to 5,000 PWAs.
June 1989. FDA approves aerosol pentamidine for PCP prevention, the first drug approval based on community research.
July 1989. Hundreds of ACT UP/NY protesters march to The New York Times, demanding fuller and less biased AIDS coverage.
Summer-Fall 1989. Meetings with Times management lead to more frequent AIDS coverage and first Times usage of the words gay and lesbian.
September 1989. Seven ACT UPers stop trading on New York Stock Exchange floor with foghorn and banner, "Sell Wellcome"; 1,000 activists converge on Wall Street to protest Wellcome’s price-gouging.
September 1989. Burroughs Wellcome lowers AZT’s price by 20 percent to $6,400 a year.
December 1989. ACT UP/NY and WHAM! (Women’s Health Action and Mobilization) organize 4,500 for demo at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to decry church opposition to safer-sex education and legal abortion; 111 activists arrested, including 43 inside for disrupting Cardinal’s highly political “sermon.”
January 1990. ACT UPers from NYC and Atlanta protest Georgia’s sodomy laws and besiege the CDC for its narrow AIDS definition that excludes many diseases affecting women and IV drug users.
March 1990. 10 ACT UP/NY members arrested for distributing clean needles to drug users.
April 1990. In Chicago, ACT NOW marches on insurance companies and the AMA and drags mattresses into street to protest local hospital’s exclusion of women from AIDS ward; 100 arrested.
April 1990. The next day, Chicago’s main hospital admits first woman to AIDS ward.
May 1990. 1,000 ACT UPers “Storm the NIH” in Bethesda, Maryland to demand research on more diverse treatment (including non-drugs), more opportunistic-infection (OI) studies, more women and people of color in clinical trials, and community input.
June 1990. Activists become voting members of NIAID research committees. In following years, clinical trials launched for more drugs, particularly for opportunistic infections. Trials enroll more women and people of color.
July 1990. 10 ACT NOW women confront Fauci in his office, demanding a women’s committee, women’s conference and women’s natural-history study.
July 1990. Fauci agrees to all demands; December 1990, conference held; spring 1991, Women’s Health Commitee first meets; 1993, natural-history study begins.
August 1990. ACT UP/NY helps form ACT UP/Puerto Rico; both mount month-long series of actions against inadequate prevention and treatment programs.
September 1990. At National Council Against Health Fraud conference in Kansas City, ACT NOW leads march and civil disobedience against attacks on alternative medicine; 23 arrested.
October 1990. ACT UPers picket and activist lawyers sue HHS to protest discriminatory disability regulations.
November 1990. ACT UP/NY releases “Countdown 18 Months” plan to speed research on treatments and prophylaxes for major OIs.
December 1990. ACT NOW Women’s Caucus again protests CDC’s narrow AIDS definition; 100 arrested.
1991. HHS broadens disability criteria to include most of demanded conditions.
1991-97. OI research dramatically increases, leading to FDA approval of several new drugs, with more in development.
January 1991. At NYC’s school board, ACT UP/NY’s YELL (Youth Education Life Line) leads its largest demo for condom distribution.
February 1991. NYC school board approves (4-3) condom distribution to public high school students.
February 1991. The 10 ACT UPers charged with needle distribution acquitted; judge agrees with “necessity defense.”
June 1991. At International AIDS Conference in Florence, Italy, ACT NOW protests U.S. HIV-immigration exclusion, threatens to shut down next conference if held in Boston.
Fall 1991. Conference organizers move 1992 site from Boston to Amsterdam and vow never to hold it in an HIV-exclusionary country.
March 1992. ACT UP/NY member Bob Rafsky confronts Bill Clinton at NYC fundraiser for failing to address AIDS; Clinton loses temper, gets bad publicity.
April 1992. Days before the New York primary, Bill Clinton meets with AIDS activists, promises support for most of their platform.
July 1992. ACT UP/NY joins a 10,000-strong AIDS coalition march to the Democratic Convention in Manhattan; several arrested.
July 1992. PWAs Bob Hattoy and Elizabeth Glaser address Democratic Convention.
October 1992. While the AIDS Quilt is in DC, 2,000 join ACT UP/NY’s political funeral; mourners break through police lines and throw ashes of PWAs on White House lawn.
October 1992. After months of pressure, Bill Clinton finally makes AIDS policy speech, promises “consistent leadership” and Manhattan Project to find a cure.
November 1992. CDC revises AIDS definition, adding several OIs, including the first gynecological infections.
February 1993. In Nutley, New Jersey, ACT UP/NY and Treatment Action Group protest Hoffman-La Roche’s foot-dragging on AIDS-drug testing; dozens arrested.
1993-95. Development accelerated for Roche’s saquinavir, becoming first protease inhibitor approved by the FDA.
March 1993. ACT UP/NY releases AIDS Cure Project, a detailed proposal for emergency program (outside NIH) to find a cure.
October 1993. Rep. Jerrold Nadler introduces AIDS Cure Act, modeled on ACT UP’s proposal. Later, under pressure from other ACT UP chapters, 25 other congressmembers co-sponsor it.
March 1993. In the largest of nationwide coalition protests, ACT UP joins action at NYC office of State Department against Guantanamo detention camp; 40 arrested, including Susan Sarandon, Jonathan Demme, Jesse Jackson and 10 ministers.
April 1993. ACT UP Network’s Lesbian Caucus protests at HHS in DC while 19 activists meet with HHS Secretary Donna Shalala, demanding action on lesbian-specific AIDS issues.
April 1993. Shalala forms lesbian AIDS task force. Later CDC funds lesbian-specific prevention programs and NIH women’s natural history study includes lesbians.
June 1993. At International AIDS Conference in Berlin, ACT UP/NY holds coalition press conference with video of horrendous conditions at Guantanamo camp.
June 1993. The next day, Federal Judge Sterling Johnson orders detention camp closed. Clinton administration declines to appeal; all refugees released. ACT UP/NY and other groups arrange housing and medical care.
March 1994. ACT UP/NY, Housing Works and Stand Up Harlem hold 3,000-strong march across Brooklyn Bridge to protest Mayor Giuliani’s proposed abolition of Division of AIDS Services.
May 1994. Mayor Giuliani releases proposed city budget that leaves Division of AIDS Services intact.
December 1994. ACT UP/Philadelphia marches on Democratic Party office, protesting Clinton’s defunding of Housing Opportunities for PWAs (HOPWA) program.
December 1994. Clinton restores HOPWA funds to budget.
January 1995. ACT UPers pack DC meeting of HHS AIDS task force, demanding FDA-mandated drug-testing in women and opposing repeal of “fair pricing” rule for NIH-developed drugs.
January 1995. At the meeting, FDA Commissioner Davis Kessler reverses opposition to requiring drug-testing in women.
July 1995. ACT UP/NY and ACT UP/Philadelphia protest secrecy and narrowness of NIH’s AIDS research evaluation panel; five arrested.
September-December 1995. NIH panel hold public hearings, appoints more activists, and convenes panel of alternative-medicine experts (whose later report proposes new research).
1995-96. ACT UP/Golden Gate campaigns for Serono to cut $72,000 annual price of human growth hormone (AIDS-wasting drug).
December 1995. ACT UP Network, Housing Works, POZ and other groups sponsor march by 200 outside White House Conference on HIV/AIDS, with demands for 50 actions by Clinton.
Early 1996. Presidential AIDS Council includes several coalition demands in its reports. In June, Council calls Clinton’s AIDS actions “still insufficient.”
April 1996. Outraged by monopoly price-gouging on Crixivan, four ACT UP members are arrested for wheatpasting “AIDS Profiteer” posters on Stadtlander’s Pharmacy in NYC.
April 1996. The next day, Stadtlander’s announces national 20 percent price reduction on Crixivan.
June 1996. At International AIDS Conference in Vancouver, ACT UP Network mounts 20 actions on various issues, including five targeting drug-company price-gouging.
October 1996. In DC, 1,000 join ACT UP Network’s political funeral march from AIDS Quilt to White House; ashes of the dead dumped over fence, protesting Clinton’s and Dole’s AIDS policies.
December 1996. ACT UP Network joins major AIDS groups for World AIDS Day actions in cities nationwide to protest drug price-gouging.
All in Good Time
Ten years of ACT UP actions and reactions
February 1987. Burroughs Wellcome announces price of AZT will be $10,000 a year.