AIDS, HIV Support Services Reduced in Palm Beach County, Florida, Due to Federal Cuts
March 9, 2006
A major cut in federal funding to HIV/AIDS patients in Palm Beach County has AIDS agencies there scrambling to keep non-medical services running while finding money elsewhere. The Department of Health and Human Services lowered the county's Ryan White CARE Act funding to $8.3 million from last year's $9.5 million.
"Our clients are usually the people that need the most help," said David Begley, chairperson of the Palm Beach County HIV CARE Council, which advises the county commission on how to spend the annual Ryan White funds. Begley, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, said his agency has already instituted a waiting list because of the reduced funding.
Two agencies that provide case management services to county HIV/AIDS patients are facing cuts. The Comprehensive AIDS Program provides case management services to 2,700 clients, with another 100 on their waiting list, said Larry Leed, the program's deputy executive director. The funding cut means CAP will have to reduce its number of clients by about 400, said Leed. "There's no other type of program that provides these services," he added.
Services such as mental health, substance abuse counseling, transportation and food distribution will also be cut. The cut in the food program at CAP will force about 800 people to rely on soup kitchens in the county, many of which are already overburdened since last year's hurricanes, said Leed.
Barbara Jacobowitz, executive director of the Treasure Coast Health Council, which oversees health services planning for five counties including Palm Beach County, said the county's Health Care District, the Palm Beach County Health Department and local doctors provide medical care to HIV/AIDS patients. But many patients, including the poor and immigrants, lack access to that care, she said.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
03.09.2006; Luis F. Perez
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.