Aljazeera America (12.18.2013)
Aljazeera America reported that approximately 100 family members and friends of Lamont Valentin rallied December 18 at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City to protest New York State hospital guidelines that prohibited Valentin from receiving a life-saving lung transplant because he had HIV. Friends stated that although HIV-infected, Valentin had a healthy immune system because he had adhered to antiretroviral treatment. He needed a lung transplant because childhood infections had damaged his lungs permanently and made him increasingly sick. Valentin died December 1.
Activists from the AIDS advocacy group Act Up and the Occupy movement joined the rally to protest New York State organ transplant guidelines that disqualified HIV-infected patients. In addition to carrying photos of Valentin and lighted candles, the protesters revised the Christmas carol “Silent Night” and sang, “Silent Night, Dreary Night/ All is wrong, nothing’s right/ When young men like Lamont lose their life, /Leaving behind a child and a wife./ We demand Lamont’s Law.”
Valentin’s family stated they would continue to advocate for guideline changes and hoped to introduce a state law that would guarantee HIV-infected patients received equal access to transplants.