AIDS programs could be hurt by new budget

AIDS officials in
Baltimore say proposed changes to Maryland’s AIDS
Administration budget could result in the elimination of 33
staff members at the administration and reduce funding
for the state’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program,
The Baltimore Sun reports. Last year state
lawmakers phased out a contract with the University of
Maryland that shifted 74 AIDS workers, including some
research staff members and those working in HIV
antibody testing and counseling centers, to the AIDS
Administration. Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr.’s proposed
budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1,
includes funds for only 41 of those positions at the
AIDS Administration, leaving 33 positions in danger of
being eliminated.

"Baltimore will
be affected because the bulk of the money goes to
places with the highest need, the most concentrated
numbers," Kima J. Taylor, Baltimore's assistant
commissioner for health promotion and disease
prevention, told the Sun.

state’s ADAP also could lose funding through
Ehrlich’s budget proposal, which diverts $6
million from an estimated $11 million in ADAP drug
rebates to the state’s general fund. AIDS experts say
drug companies may eliminate the rebates if the
savings aren't applied solely to the drug program,
leaving the ADAP far short of the money it needs to provide
antiretroviral medications to low-income Maryland residents.
They also say the $11 million in rebates is an
estimate; the actual savings could be far less than
projected. (

Tags: Health, Health

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