Several AIDS service organizations in central Texas will lose most or all of their state funding for HIV prevention programs due to a new grant allocation system that directs most money toward areas hardest hit by AIDS, the Austin American-Statesman reports. Several central Texas agencies, including Community Action Network, ALLGO Informe-VIDA, the Williamson County health district, and the United Way of the Greater Fort Hood Area, will receive no state funding for HIV prevention programs in 2003. Other agencies will receive reduced funding in 2003 or will be forced to share resources with county health departments.
AIDS service groups in Austin that received cuts in their funding plan to appeal the grant allocations. The loss of funds may force some of the groups to cut services, cut staff, or shut down completely, said Carole Belver, director of community health services for Community Action Network. Martha Duffer, executive director of ALLGO, said cutting funding to agencies with proven results in HIV prevention work could lead to rising HIV infection rates in the areas they serve. "Many of these programs have been developing skills and expertise in the last 15 years," she said. "We've been making major strides in addressing the epidemic in central Texas. If these programs are shut down, that expertise is lost."