Massachusetts: Funding Cuts Target HIV Prevention Programs
September 9, 2011
By 2015, Massachusetts is slated to lose up to one-half of the money it receives from CDC for primary HIV prevention and screening, likely impacting local services.
CDC currently gives the state $8.6 million annually for HIV prevention and screening, but a new five-year federal plan will see funding shifted to areas that have high or increasing new infections, said Kevin Cranston, director of the Bureau of Infectious Diseases for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. As a result, the state will lose about $4.3 million in prevention money, he said.
AIDS prevention specialists said Cape Cod agencies that target high-risk groups could be affected, including those that provide risk-reduction programs for people who are already HIV-positive. Cape Cod Healthcare (CCH) and the AIDS Support Group (ASG) together reach more than 100,000 people per year.
"We've been very successful at reducing the rate of infection," said ASG Executive Director Joe Carleo. "We do direct testing and linking people to care. As an agency we will work closely with the state to continue to do a lot of the outreach."
Valerie Al-Hachem, infectious-diseases clinical services manager for CCH, worries that other STDs could begin to rise with the funding loss. "HIV programming helps control rates of new cases of hepatitis C, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia," she noted.
The first reduction of $2.3 million will occur in January, though existing state budgets will absorb about $1 million of that loss, Cranston said. The remainder of the cuts will be pushed into the fiscal year starting July 1, 2012.
Cape Cod Times (Hyannis)
09.08.2011; Mary Ann Bragg
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.
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