The BLOC is based on the Denver Principles, a Bill of Rights / Declaration of Independence for the AIDS movement written in 1983. The Denver Principles began: “We condemn attempts to label us as ‘victims,’ a term which implies defeat, and we are only occasionally ‘patients,’ a term which implies passivity, helplessness, and dependence upon the care of others. We are ‘people with AIDS.’ This seminal moment in AIDS activism outlined 17 principles that covered everything from health care decisions to civil rights to sexual conduct. While theDenver Principles were written by members of the LGBTQ community who recognized their particular vulnerability to HIV and the social stigma attached to the disease, they built on community organizing practices that had been a vibrant part of the 1960s and 70s:movements building power for African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos and Chicanos, women’s health and LGBT liberation.At its core, the Denver Principles demanded a set of rights and recommendations for people living with HIV.
The principle of Meaningful Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS (MIPA) is another important set of values put forward, demanding that people living with HIV be substantively engaged in policy and programmatic decision-making activities that impact our lives, and fairly compensated for our participation. Together, the Denver Principles and MIPA make demands of our allies, our institutions, our government and our communities. They articulate our responsibilities as people living with HIV to engage each other and our representative institutions. They recognize the power of language to affirm or destroy and the potential to change social and cultural norms while reaching political goals. As the partner organizations behind the BLOC, we believe that, more than ever, the meaningful involvement of people of color living with HIV must guide policy and practice on the domestic epidemic today.