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U.S. News

New York: Funds Imperil HIV Testing

July 13, 2011

With the loss of Nassau County funding, the Long Island Minority AIDS Coalition says it will not be able to conduct free, anonymous HIV testing on a half-dozen local college campuses. In April, LIMAC lost its $110,000 annual county allocation, one-quarter of its budget, amid a wave of county cuts. Other services also are at risk, and LIMAC now is turning to the private sector, including foundations, for support.

"We're hoping something comes up soon," said Rabia Aziz, LIMAC's executive director, noting the county had provided the allocation annually since 1992.

LIMAC organizes the testing events and provides a van for the screenings, which are conducted by the state's Anonymous Counseling and Testing program. Campuses served include Hofstra, Adelphi, State University of New York (SUNY)-Old Westbury, C.W. Post, Farmingdale State College, and Nassau Community College.

Nassau County officials had to make similar cuts, affecting dozens of medical-related social service organizations, in order to prevent a property tax hike, said Brian Nevin, a spokesperson for County Executive Edward Mangano.

"It would be a complete travesty and disservice not only to the college community but the community at large if they could not continue their important mission," said Dr. Debra Kaplan, a psychology professor at the SUNY campus who has worked closely with LIMAC.

Also at risk are programs providing prevention education in minority communities in Nassau and Suffolk, counseling for homeless people, and syringe access for drug users.

"I had to lay off our health educator because of the cutback," said Aziz, whose group has one other full-time employee and one part-timer. "We have the largest population of HIV-positive people in suburban America and actually more people than some states," Aziz said, citing state health department data.

Back to other news for July 2011

Adapted from:
Newsday (Melville)
07.06.2011; Delthia Ricks

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More About HIV Testing in New York

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