Ed Koch
Then: Mayor of New York City
Now: Author, columnis, bon vivant

Object of countless demonstrations, such as “Target City Hall,” charging inadequate handling of the epidemic. Koch supported Cardinal O’Connor during the 1989 St. Patrick’s demonstration.

“I still think they were dead wrong about me. New York did more than anyone else to help PWAs. They injured themselves by invading St. Patrick’s Cathedral. But on balance, you’d have to say ACT UP was an important and positive lobbyist. Of course, I think they treated me unfairly, but so did lots of groups!”

Kathy Bartlett
Manager of Media Relations,
Burroughs Wellcome (1986-1994)
Now: Director of Health Care Relations,
Glaxo Wellcome

Wellcome was the target of ACT UP’s first major demo, over high prices for AZT. In 1989, six ACT UP members barricaded themselves in an office at company headquarters; Wellcome lowered the price of AZT in response.

“AZT was approved by the FDA in March 1987, so we were a logical target at the time, just as ACT UP was starting. The employees just didn’t understand. People in the HIV community began to understand, and we began to work together. They’ve brought a sense of urgency to our work.”

George Bush
President of the United States (1989-1993)

In 1991, ACT UP traveled to the president’s summer home in Kennbunkport, Maine to confront him about his lack of urgency in dealing with the epidemic.

“I have no respect for ACT UP and its extreme tactics. Their demonstrations against me, particularly in our little town of Kennebunkport, turned off everyone who witnessed their tactics. They help the cause they profess to help.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Then and Now: Director of the National
Institute of Allery and Infectious Disease (1984)

Target of “Storm the NIH” demonstration (1990); sometime physician to and still friend of Larry Kramer; regarded as apologist for Republican presidents, but simultaneously worked with ACT UP on treatment issues.

"My relationship with ACT UP is complex. On the whole, we’ve had a positive interaction. Early on, I invited people in, during the demonstration at the FDA and the demo at NIH. I blew their minds by saying bring in three or four leaders and let’s talk. Their language and look never bothered me. And that led to things like expanded access and parallel track. Their actions were a stimulus for me to examine issues more carefully.

Dr. Louis Sullivan
Then: U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services
Now: President, Morehouse School of Medicine

At the San Francisco International AIDS Conference in 1990, Sullivan faced hundreds of screaming demonstrators who were angry at the Bush administration’s handling of the epidemic and determined not to let him speak.

“I was surprised and disappointed that ACT UP would attempt to stop me from speaking. I had come with a message of conciliation. I wanted to work with ACT UP. I thought their actions were counterproductive and, frankly, un-American. I had just spent the day before defeating the Chapman amendment in Congress that would have barred people with HIV from jobs as food handlers. I didn’t do a thing differently [because of them]. They lost their effectiveness because they were so inappropriate. When they threw objects on the stage-pennies, condoms-I considered that very personal. It was an attack on my dignity.”