The board and staff of the Treatment Action Group (TAG) deeply regret statements attributed to TAG’s Spencer Cox in the 11/22 Paper Trail, when he stated, “I know a lot of upper-middle-class gay males that I very much want to live, and if I can see them cured and no one else right now, I will take that and then keep working on everyone else.” We reject this statement and the philosophy underlying it. TAG’s mission statement says that TAG is committed to working with and for all communities affected by HIV.

As AIDS is becoming a treatable disease, we believe that all barriers to access to treatment, health care, and information are intolerable, and that our nation has the obligation to provide optimal treatment to all those infected with HIV and to protect all those at risk for infection with honest prevention campaigns and syringe-exchange programs. We believe that all HIV-infected persons, regardless of age, sex, race, class, income, educational background, sexual orientation, drug-use history, or behavior and incarceration status are entitled to treatment with the best options current science has to offer.

Recent figures indicate that increasing numbers of African-Americans, Latinos, and Latinas are infected by HIV, while infection rates are decreasing among so-called whites. Even if these trends were not so overwhelmingly clear, any expression that making treatments accessible to one class of Americans and not to another—whether defined by sex, economic status, race, or ethnicity—is unacceptable and intolerable. TAG deeply regrets the justifiable anger and outrage this comment may have caused, and repudiates the philosophy it reflected.

Mark Harrington

Policy Director

Charles Franchino

President, Board of Directors

Treatment Action Group

New York, N.Y.