The New York Times published an article: “Anthony Fauci Quietly Shocked Us All” by Peter Staley.” NOTE: Mr. Staley is a political activist and was an early member of ACT UP. He is the board chair of PrEP4All, a leading H.I.V.-prevention advocacy group. His memoir, Never Silent: ACT UP and My Life in Activism, was published last year.
The first time I met Dr. Anthony Fauci was at the International AIDS Conference in Montreal during the summer of 1989. ACT UP, the AIDS activist group I was a part of, had scared the bejesus out of conference organizers by seizing the stage during the opening session, then made things worse by disrupting various scientific presentations. Many, if not most, AIDS researchers wanted us hauled away and never heard from again.
Little did they know that Dr. Fauci, who was leading the response at the National Institutes of Health, had been meeting with members of ACT UP since shortly after our founding two years earlier.
The regular meetings he had with an ACT UP member, Bill Bahlman, continued even after Larry Kramer, one of the group’s founders, wrote an open letter to Dr. Fauci in The Village Voice calling him a murderer and comparing him to the Holocaust organizer Adolf Eichmann.
But there Dr. Fauci was, meeting with me and my comrades, branded radical homosexuals, to discuss our policy proposal for upending longstanding Food and Drug Administration strictures against public access to drugs before they are approved.
Mr. Kramer had labeled him our enemy, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that as the head of our government’s AIDS research efforts, Dr. Fauci had my life in his hands. Only four years earlier, at the age of 24, I was diagnosed with AIDS-related complex, considered a certain death sentence at the time……
…..Days after the conference, I found myself in Dr. Fauci’s office, along with the ACT UP members Mark Harrington and Jim Eigo, hammering out the final details of our parallel track program, which would allow thousands of people to obtain experimental drugs outside of traditional clinical trials.