AIDS activists declared an AIDS-related state of emergency on October 19 over the disproportionate rates of HIV cases among Latinos and African-Americans living on Long Island, N.Y., Newsday reports. Activists cited reports from state health officials showing that minorities account for about half of Long Island's reported AIDS cases. They called for increased funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs for organizations that serve Long Island's minority communities.
"Federal funding has been flat, and the needs are growing," said Jill Williams, director of the AIDS service program at Five Towns Community Center. The activists also called on local government officials to focus more attention on the impact of AIDS on Long Island communities. "We need to hear you speaking about HIV/AIDS more than you do...and that has to mean more money flowing into our community," Williams said.