ACT UP/San Francisco Members Given Preliminary Injunction After April Assault
A San Francisco judge issued a preliminary injunction last week barring five members of the "dissident group" ACT UP/San Francisco from coming within 100 yards of the offices or employees of the AIDS organization Project Inform, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Superior Court Judge Ina Gyemant's ruling "stems from an April incident" in which ACT UP/San Francisco members "[got] into a scuffle at a Project Inform meeting where members were discussing the benefits of taking breaks from AIDS drugs." They were charged with assault and trespassing. Project Inform Board President Joe Garrett said, "We're delighted at the outcome and at the same time saddened that at this point in the AIDS epidemic we're being forced to protect our employees and constituents from violence and threats of violence." ACT UP/San Francisco "splintered" from the national ACT UP organization in the early 1990s. Whereas the original ACT UP urges lower prices for AIDS drugs and research for a cure, ACT UP/San Francisco subscribes to the "dissident" school that argues that HIV does not cause AIDS and that HIV-positive individuals should not take AIDS medications. The group also runs a marijuana dispensary, which other AIDS activists have asked HIV-positive people to boycott. In her ruling, which will be finalized within two weeks, Gyemant noted "past violent acts" by members of ACT UP/San Francisco, including a 1996 altercation in which an ACT UP/San Francisco member "dumped cat litter over the head" of the executive director of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Andrea Lindsay, one of the ACT/UP San Francisco members cited in Gyemant's ruling, said that the group may appeal the decision, adding, "This is not a really big city and we don't know where most of these people live. We have no intent of being near them but their offices are four blocks from ours. This ruling is really Draconian" (Heredia, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.