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lawmakers approve AIDS funding increase

lawmakers approve AIDS funding increase

New funds are earmarked for HIV prevention and treatment programs.

The Illinois assembly has approved an additional $5.5 million in funding for HIV prevention and treatment programs for fiscal 2007, $2.5 million of which is earmarked for the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program. The funding increase also includes a new $3 million appropriation to establish the African-American HIV/AIDS Response Fund, a program that will focus on HIV prevention and treatment services for black state residents. The state health department reports that while African-Americans account for 15% of the state's population, they account for 54% of new AIDS cases in Illinois.

"The AIDS Foundation of Chicago applauds Governor Blagojevich and the members of the general assembly for taking bold steps in the fight against AIDS," Mark Ishaug, AIDS Foundation of Chicago executive director, said in a press statement. "With these increases, Illinois will provide lifesaving medications to thousands of state residents who need them and help slow the spread of HIV in black communities where the HIV crisis is most acute."

The state budget also includes $2 million for HIV services for prisoners and former inmates; $3.15 million for HIV prevention services for communities of color; $400,000 for the HIV/AIDS Policy and Research Institute at Chicago State University; $4.2 million for supporting services to low-income state residents, including those with HIV; and $4.9 million for crystal methamphetamine prevention and treatment services. (The Advocate)

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