Illinois lawmakers allocate more AIDS funds
A $43 billion fiscal 2005 budget passed by the Illinois general assembly last week includes an additional $4.25 million in funding for HIV prevention and care services over 2004 funding levels. The funding increase includes an additional $3.1 million for the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program and $1.15 million for HIV prevention efforts in minority communities. The additional ADAP money will allow the program to avoid implementing enrollment caps or other cost-cutting measures and may even help expand the program to add mental health medications to the ADAP's drug formulary, say AIDS Foundation of Chicago officials. "By increasing funding for HIV/AIDS services, Illinois's leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to the fight against AIDS," says AFC executive director Mark Ishaug. "The increases are a tremendous victory for the AIDS community in a budget year when many health and social service programs received funding cuts."