AIDS activists disrupt speech by U.S. health secretary Thompson

April 16, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Six AIDS activists briefly disrupted a speech by federal Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson yesterday in Baltimore.

As Thompson addressed a conference on illness prevention, the protesters burst into a tent in front of the Marriott Waterfront hotel where about 1,000 health officials and advocates were eating lunch. They held up posters and chanted, "AIDS is an emergency, save the Global Fund," before being led out by security guards.

One of the protesters, Allison Dinsmore of Philadelphia, said later that they believe the $15 billion President Bush has pledged to the international fight against AIDS should go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a multinational group. Funneling it through U.S. agencies will be too slow, she said.

Thompson, who is chairman of the Global Fund, later said the United States has donated more than half of the fund's money.

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