Bloomberg announces $5 million increase in HIV prevention spending
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and health commissioner Thomas Frieden marked World AIDS Day on Wednesday by announcing a permanent addition of $5 million to the health department's budget to fight HIV in the city's communities of color. Bloomberg also said that significant progress has been made in the city's fight against AIDS during the past year, including increased availability of rapid HIV-antibody testing and the establishment of a needle exchange program in Queens. "On World AIDS Day, we reflect on the toll that this disease has taken on our city and redouble our efforts to fighting this epidemic," said Bloomberg. "We are committed to reducing the annual AIDS death rate by half by 2008, and this year we are permanently adding $5 million to the health department's HIV prevention budget, which will go to programs serving those at highest risk. While this will help, the epidemic continues to have a profound impact on our city. Too many lives are affected, and too many people die prematurely. This World AIDS Day, we acknowledge the critical need to prevent HIV in women, who represent nearly a third of the city's people living with HIV/AIDS."