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Naked AIDS activists protest in US House Speaker’s office

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – About seven AIDS activists turned up at the Capitol Hill office of the Speaker of the American House of Representatives, John Boehner, and stripped naked to highlight how cuts to federal budgets are affecting HIV/AIDS funding, The Huffington Post reports.

According to the Post, Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner was present at the protest, during which activists chanted "Boehner, Boehner, don't be a dick. Budget cuts will make us sick."

Three women were arrested for lewd and indecent acts, The Los Angeles Times reports, noting that it was "unclear what happened to the men." The report cites a police spokesperson who says that all those who were "witnessed committing violations" were arrested. The activists, reportedly representing the groups Queerocracy, ACT UP New York and ACT UP Philadelphia, had painted their bodies with slogans that included “AIDS Cuts Kill,” “Fund PEPFAR," "Fund Ryan White," "Fund Global Fund," "Fund Medicaid" and "Fund HOPWA."  

One protester, Jennifer Flynn, says "people with AIDS have been stripped naked for years — Medicaid has been cut, states are [struggling] . . . there are waiting lists in this country where people with AIDS are dying."

“The naked truth is that if President Obama and Congressional leaders like Speaker Boehner allow these budget cuts to lifesaving programs, global health programs will lose $689 million, while domestic AIDS programs will lose $538 million," Eustacia Smith, of ACT UP New York, adds.

The protest precedes an anticipated Nov 29 announcement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about a "blueprint to end AIDS," a press release from the activist groups states. 

"The naked protest was timed to coincide with the World AIDS Day march of hundreds of AIDS activists marching from the Democratic National Committee to the offices of Congressional leaders to demand a stop to the sequestration budget cuts that will push the world backwards in the fight against AIDS." 

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