Boycott, criminal charges used as revenge on ACT UP

AP 23 Sept. 2000

San Franisco -- Tired of years of taunts and disruptions, local AIDS professionals and activists announced they've decided to fight back against the activities of a radical AIDS group by boycotting its $1.6 million-a-year pot club.

The San Francisco chapter of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) is known for its confrontational behavior and its claims that HIV does not cause AIDS, that those who think so are out to demonize gay sex and that AIDS drugs are poison.

The city's director of public health and the AIDS group Project Inform also are pursuing criminal charges against ACT UP/SF members for allegedly raucous behavior.

The groups proclaimed their intentions at a Thursday news conference and in ads in two gay publications. ACT UP/SF's recent announcement that "AIDS is over" has health officials worried because new HIV infections among young gay men appear to be rising.

ACT UP/SF members acknowledge their confrontational behavior, but say they are welcomed in the community. The medicinal marijuana outlet run by ACT UP/SF has become a $100,000-a-month business, with the profits going to finance the group's political activities.