Chicago AIDS budget boosted
Chicago's mayor and the city council's budget committee have agreed on a proposal that would boost HIV prevention spending in the city by $600,000 in 2004. The final budget will be voted on during the council's November 19 meeting. The increase in funding is less than the $1 million extra AIDS activists had requested but marks the first time prevention spending has been increased in several years. Most of the new money will target gay and minority communities, where HIV infection rates are rising. Mayor Richard M. Daley's budget director, William Abolt, told council members that the city would continue to work closely with them to identify new sources of funding in the coming year to further increase the HIV prevention budget. "We commend and thank Mayor Daley and members of city council for responding to the AIDS crisis in our communities," said Mark Ishaug, executive director of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, in response to the increased spending proposal. "The need continues to outpace available resources and we will continue to work closely with city officials, council members, and community leaders to stem the spread of HIV. While we are disappointed that we did not secure the full $1 million requested, the increase is important and will be put to immediate good use. Given these difficult economic times, any increase in HIV prevention funding is welcome news that will benefit all of Chicago."