Originally published on Advocate.com March 06 2004 1:00 AM ET
About 300 people were at a rally outside the state capitol in Boston on Wednesday to protest planned cuts in AIDS funding from the 2005 Massachusetts budget, the Boston Herald reports. The activists instead want funding boosted by $4 million in 2005 to a total of $36 million. They say the funding increase is needed because the number of newly diagnosed HIV cases among the state's youths as well as adults over age 50 have risen significantly over the past four years, with new HIV cases among people ages 13 to 24 going up by more than 40%. Adults over age 50 accounted for 12% of new HIV infections in 2002, up from 9.2% in 1999. The activists say increased funding for prevention and treatment programs will not only help reduce the number of new HIV infections but will also lower costs of future medical care for those who are infected with the virus but are unable to access early treatment before AIDS-related complications arise.