California AIDS activists last week called cuts in federal AIDS funding to most of the state's cities "devastating," noting that San Francisco alone will lose $4 million in AIDS dollars in 2005, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. San Francisco's AIDS funding in fiscal 2005 was cut by 12% from 2004 levels, Oakland's funding was down 5.9%, and San Jose's funding was cut by 5.1%. The overall amount of Ryan White grants for 2005 was $595 million, down $5 million from 2004 levels.
Forty of the 51 largest U.S. metropolitan regions saw their Ryan White funding fall in fiscal 2005. New York City, however, received a 17.5% funding increase, and Sacramento's funding is up 12% over 2004 levels. Among the other cities with large funding cuts were St. Louis, which saw its grant chopped by 13.8%, and Newark, N.J., which received a 13.5% cut.
Bay Area officials called the cuts "devastating" and said they will affect legal aid, meals programs, transportation subsidies, substance abuse treatment, and alternative health care programs for HIV-positive people in the region. AIDS advocates plan to ask the city of San Francisco for increased financial support but don't expect to receive it because of a lingering budget deficit in the city. Some activists openly accused the conservative Bush administration of purposely cutting grants to liberal areas like San Francisco, but a Health and Human Services spokesman says politics were not a factor in the funding process and that all grants were awarded based on "an objective review."