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U.S. News

Texas: HIV/AIDS Programs Facing Big Cuts and a Rush of New Clients

September 6, 2011

Many former clients of AIDS Resources of Rural Texas (ARRT, which ceased operations Aug. 31, after 18 years of serving patients from its Weatherford and Abilene offices, are expected to turn to Tarrant County for help. Organizations there, however, are struggling with the impact of federal budget cuts even before trying to accommodate more people in need of help.

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"Tarrant County could take a huge financial hit," said David Mack Henderson of the North Central Texas HIV Planning Council. "Not only do the new clients suffer, but so does the client already receiving services here. There is less for everyone."

Officials have indicated they do not know if the government will fund the agencies that take on ARRT's clients. ARRT received $390,000 in Ryan White money this year.

"It's a little chaotic, and I think there is probably some fear among clients about what services will be there for them," said Shannon Hilgart, associate executive director of the AIDS Outreach Center in Fort Worth. The City Council recently voted to add $136,763 to its contract with AOC to provide some assistance for HIV/AIDS patients in Tarrant, Parker, Johnson, and Hood counties. But Henderson said that money is for a different program and will not make up for ARRT's lost services.

Fort Worth's allocation of federal AIDS dollars was slow to arrive this fiscal year, and it was about $185,000 less than last year, said Margie Drake, grant manager for the Tarrant County Public Health Department.

Already, AOC has cut its case managers from seven to four and reduced the amount of expensive items, like meat, that it offers clients from its food pantry.

Of the 350 patients who had been receiving help from ARRT, as many as 250 have no insurance or Medicaid access.

Back to other news for September 2011

Adapted from:
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
09.02.2011; Alex Branch


  
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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
More News and Articles on HIV Groups and Medical Care in Texas

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