As part of an ongoing effort to cut government spending in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Human Resources plans to cut $140 million from its budget, including a 10% reduction in HIV/AIDS spending, the Southern Voice reports. The funding cuts would go into effect over a two-year period, beginning in fiscal 2004. About $1 million in HIV/AIDS spending would be cut from the fiscal 2004 budget, with another $1.5 million cut following in fiscal 2005. Although the programs to be affected by the cuts have not yet been identified, some AIDS advocates and activists worry that the money will come from the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which provides antiretroviral medications to low-income state residents.
"Georgia's ADAP has gone from struggling to solid in the past four years, and I think it would be a very sad message to the community if support were suddenly eroded," Jeff Graham, executive director of the AIDS Survival Program told the Voice.
Although Department of Human Resources commissioner Jim Martin says he is committed to ensuring that the state's ADAP serves everyone who needs medical care and anti-HIV medications, it may be possible to reduce its funding by improving the program's efficiency and making sure ADAP enrollees do not have other options for HIV care.