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California: $18 Million in Cuts to Jolt AIDS Care

May 15, 2012

San Francisco faces the loss of almost $8 million in federal AIDS funding in the fiscal year beginning July 1, and another $10 million the following year. Such deep cuts to Ryan White efforts and CDC prevention programming would threaten care, say city officials and service providers. San Francisco received $41.8 million from the two federal programs through the current fiscal year ending June 30.

"I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that restoring these funds is a matter of life and death," said Mike Smith, head of the AIDS Emergency Fund and president of the HIV/AIDS Providers Network in San Francisco. He and others are lobbying the city for financial help with the cuts. Three city supervisors from the LGBT community -- Scott Wiener, David Campos, and Christina Olague -- also have made it a priority.

In January, Mayor Ed Lee authorized a $1.8 million budget supplemental to backfill earlier cuts to Ryan White funding through the current fiscal year. San Francisco itself spends more than $70 million annually for HIV/AIDS services, said Greg Wagner, budget chief for the city health department.

The city has a projected $170 million deficit for the new fiscal year and a $312 million gap the following year. Lee must by law submit a balanced budget, which is due out June 1.

"The mayor is very aware of and concerned about Ryan White Care funding cuts, and he is working to protect these programs and services," said Christine Falvey, Lee's spokesperson. The mayor is working to find a solution, she said, but he "is also trying to close a $170 million budget shortfall."

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Excerpted from:
San Francisco Chronicle
05.15.2012; Rachel Gordon

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