ACT UP members shout protests and hold placards
ACT UP at the National Institutes of Health, 1990
Courtesy Donna Binder

More than thirty million men, women, and children are thought to be living with HIV. People carrying the virus, which causes AIDS, can live without symptoms for years and unknowingly spread the disease. The epidemic is also fueled by the slow response of policy makers, controversy over sex education, and lasting inequalities that put some people at increased risk.

In the face of discrimination, negligence, stigma, and ignorance, advocates for health and human rights have fought against the spread of the global pandemic. Their efforts have led to major breakthroughs and lifesaving shifts in attitudes and policies.