AIDS groups in South Florida may cut some of their programs and completely eliminate others to cope with a reduction in federal HIV funding, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports. Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties received 5% less in federal Ryan White funds this year than in 2003, agency officials said, which will likely lead to changes at many AIDS organizations in the region. Programs in Broward County will likely be spared any cuts, since that county received the same amount of funding this year as it did last year. The decreased funding levels elsewhere will likely lead to cuts in secondary services, such as food pantries, rent and transportation subsidies, and education programs.
David Begley, chair of the Palm Beach County HIV Care Council, called an emergency meeting Monday to discuss cuts in county programs to make up for an estimated loss of $500,000 in federal funding. Keith Cromley of the Miami-Dade HIV/AIDS Partnership said that the county is planning to move some HIV-positive people to other government-assistance programs to ease the burden on HIV service organizations that are having their funding cut. Miami has the fourth-highest number of HIV cases in the United States; Fort Lauderdale ranks number 13 on the list of the nation's cities with the highest number of HIV-positive residents.