James Krellenstein is an HIV activist, a co-founder of the PrEP4All Collaboration, and the organizer of an emergency working group to address the coronavirus pandemic in New York. Dr. Denis Nash is a professor of epidemiology at the CUNY Public Health School, the executive director of the CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health, and an alumnus of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service. The views expressed in this commentary belong to the authors. View more opinion at CNN. (CNN)As people who have worked to respond to the HIV pandemic for most of our adult lives — one of us as an HIV activist and the other as an epidemiologist — we understand the consequences of early mistakes in the response to disease outbreaks and how politicians can often stand in the way of protecting the public’s health.We offer a few insights from our vantage point in the hopes of influencing the response to the current coronavirus pandemic, as well as future public health emergencies. The time is now, just as it was in the early phase of the AIDS epidemic, for ordinary citizens to organize, act up and demand that their government work to save their lives.In a vacuum


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