California Slashes HIV/AIDS Prevention Funding in New Budget

BY admin

September 25 2008 12:00 AM ET

In California's
latest budget, signed Tuesday by Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger, funding for HIV/AIDS prevention services was
cut by $5 million. Although two programs described as
vital by state HIV/AIDS activists -- the AIDS Drug
Assistance Program and the Therapeutic Monitoring
Program -- were spared cuts, the overall trend was downward.

"We’re
gratified that vital drug and monitoring programs have been
preserved, but the commitment to support people with
HIV/AIDS must be sustained over time," Craig E.
Thompson, executive director of AIDS Project Los
Angeles, said in a statement. "The number of Californians
with HIV increases every year, yet funding is heading in the
opposite direction. We cannot win the war against this
disease if the government keeps whittling away at our
resources."

At a time when
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently
increased its estimate of annual new HIV infections by 40%,
prevention programs shouldn't be cut back, Thompson
added: "Slashing prevention programs at a time of
rising HIV rates is bad policy. This is terrible news
for young adults, gay men, and men and women of color who
are at heightened risk for HIV in California and
across the nation."

In addition to
cuts in prevention funding, the new California budget
includes less money for HIV/AIDS-related housing assistance,
early intervention, and counseling and testing
programs. It also eliminates outright a program
providing mental health services to people living with
HIV. (The Advocate)

Tags: Health

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