AIDS activists in New York held a rally Wednesday outside City Hall to protest Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed city budget, which includes cuts of millions of dollars from various programs for HIV-positive New Yorkers, Newsday reports. Dozens of protesters participated in the rally, holding signs and chanting, "Bloomberg, billionaire. People with AIDS, he don't care." Thirty protesters were arrested.
Bloomberg's proposed fiscal 2003 budget includes more than $18 million in cuts to the city's HIV/AIDS Services Administration, which would affect case management services for 30,000 HIV-positive people and would cut AIDS housing support by 10%. Activists say the proposed budget cuts will lead to more HIV-positive people in the city becoming homeless and could force some people out of case management programs.
Joe Pressley, executive director of the New York AIDS Coalition, is particularly worried about the changes to the case management programs, which he says Bloomberg initially promised would not be affected by budget cuts. "The mayor basically lied to our community," he said. "We're not going to take these changes lying down."