The Treatment and Research Commission is the oldest commission of Act Up-Paris. It now has fifteen members who meet twice a month to take stock of the current situation, follow up issue dossiers and hold in-depth discussions of the positions taken by Act Up-Paris in the treatment area.
Treatment and Research Commission is the very model of a voluntary association tool for keeping watch over health matters. Information is obtained from:
– ourselves, HIV-positive men and women of long date, well known to the hospital departments that follow us and in this capacity regularly interviewed by our doctors.
– calls from people with HIV/AIDS facing difficulties with their treatment, illness or medical care and coverage,
– calls from doctors or paramedical personnel,
– mailing lists, subscriptions to scientific internet sites and in a general way, from information circulating on the web,
– conferences, colloquia and interviews with health agencies, the medical milieu and laboratories,
– documentation sent by laboratories, various health institutions and other anti-AIDS associations, especially the French inter-association group TRT-5, specialized in therapeutic questions,
This information allows us to alert public authorities about the shortcomings and failures of epidemiological mechanisms and of medical care and coverage provided to people with HIV/AIDS; it also underpins the work of the association’s other commissions that deal with the social, political and international aspects.
Armed with information from these many networks, we are able to react rapidly to the current treatment scene and advances made in research, and inform media of failures observed. When no solution is found, we organize public demonstrations against administrations or pharmaceutical laboratories — going so far as to block production plants if that is the only way left open for us to obtain the molecules we need. HIV/AIDS people have never gotten anything without fighting for it.
We know from experience that sick people fight their disease better when they are well informed. Therefore, the main task of the commission is to ensure direct diffusion of therapeutic and medical information to those suffering from it: articles in the monthly newsletter of Act Up-Paris, Action ; the appearance every two months of Protocoles , a magazine of information on therapeutic trials in progress and those planned, accompanied by special subject dossiers; publication and regular updating of an HIV-specific glossary ; organization every two months in Paris — and sometimes in the provinces at the request of local associations — of a theme-oriented Public Information Meeting (RÉPI) concerning particular aspects of the medical care and coverage of HIV/AIDS patients.
Having spearheaded Act Up-Paris when it was founded, the Treatment and Research Commission commits itself to being an efficient tool of therapeutic expertise forged by HIV-positive people for HIV-positive people. Our concern is not only to be information providers, but also to be a group of activists who stand up for and inform each other.