Policy & Politics
Health Officials From Southern States Ask Federal Government for More Money to Provide HIV/AIDS Health Care, Prevention Services
September 22, 2003
Health officials from 14 Southern states and Washington, D.C., on Thursday called on Congress to allocate almost $122 million a year to states in the South to make up for what they say is an inequality in federal funding for the region, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Speaking at the Southern AIDS Coalition conference in New Orleans, the officials said that the number of HIV/AIDS caseloads in their states is outpacing the federal funding they receive. According to the CDC, the coalition of states accounted for 39% of the nation's new AIDS diagnoses in 2001, the latest year for which the figures are available, the Times-Picayune reports. The officials are asking for $25.5 million for prevention programs, almost $34.6 million for basic care, $48.6 million to help HIV/AIDS patients pay for prescription drugs and about $13.1 million to help pay for housing (Pope, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 9/18). According to a report by the North Carolina Division of Public Health HIV/STD Prevention & Care Branch, the federal government allocates an average of $5,625 for health care for each AIDS case around the country, but in the South, the average for each case is $5,184. That means for every dollar spent on health care for the average AIDS patient across the country, the average AIDS patient in the South receives a little more than 92 cents, according to the report (Basinger, Florida Times-Union, 9/17). The officials said that the funding discrepancy occurs because the formula the federal government uses to determine funding levels favors cities with large AIDS caseloads, such as New York, Miami and New Orleans. However, many Southern cities do not have high concentrations of AIDS cases, making them ineligible for some federal grants, according to Evelyn Foust, director of programs for AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases in North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services, the Times-Picayune reports.
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.