Just Fantastic: $82.1 Million Cut to State's Office of AIDS
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today signed a state budget that will cut roughly $82.1 million from the state's Office of AIDS, says that office's chief, Dr. Michelle Roland. The state cuts promise to disproportionately hit cities like San Francisco, which is among the nation's top 20 counties when it comes to AIDS and HIV prevalence, according to the online HIV/AIDS Atlas provided by the National Minority Quality Forum.
Courtney Mulhern-Pearson of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation said that roughly 50 percent of all the state's AIDS cases are in Los Angeles and San Francisco. According to the Mulhern-Pearson, the state's cut will mean $2.3 million less for prevention in San Francisco, and the foundation itself expects a cut of $750,000 to $800,000 to its annual budget. "The budget situation is terrible everywhere, but this is above and beyond anything we expected," she said.
The cuts are meant to help close the state's $26 billion budget chasm. According to the updated budget, the state's Office of AIDS will have to cut programming for prevention, therapeutic monitoring, counseling, and testing, early intervention, home and community-based care, and housing. You know, important stuff.
The office will still have some funding to provide meds to low-income residents, and funds for tracking the number of HIV cases in the state. Dr. Roland said the state sees its federal funding based on this tracking system, which is probably why it was kept as part of the budget. She added that the Office is now left with 50 percent of the resources itpreviously had for care, and 20 percent of those allotted for prevention.
Dr. Grant Colfax, the director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health AIDS office announced he is anticipating cuts from the Governor's budget-- but doesn't yet have specific numbers. No doubt other city programs will also be feeling cuts soon enough. We'll keep you posted.