New York state's HIV Health and Human Services Planning Council on Thursday voted to begin investigating the reasons behind a $14 million reduction in federal funding for HIV/AIDS groups in New York City, Newsday reports. Ryan White funds for New York City fiscal 2003 were cut by about 12% from 2002 levels, which was the largest decrease in the nation. The 50-member council will look into allegations that the New York City Health Department's application for federal funding was "tardy and poorly prepared." But city health commissioner Thomas Frieden has defended the application, adding, "If you find problems with the application, let's use that to make sure next year's application is better. But my take is that absolutely nothing in the application justifies this cut."
Some council members also have questioned whether citywide funding cuts implemented by Mayor Michael Bloomberg led federal officials to similarly cut funding for New York City's HIV/AIDS services.