New York: Bill to Cut AIDS Funding Protested
June 22, 2006
Close to 100 activists gathered at Borough Hall Tuesday to protest a congressional measure that would cut New York's share of federal funding for HIV/AIDS treatment and services. Statewide, as much as $24 million is at stake in a proposed reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act, said US Rep. Vito Fossella, who joins Gov. George Pataki, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg in opposing the proposed new federal formula for funds disbursement.
Legislation passed through a Senate committee last month included provisions that would siphon funds from large urban areas to Southern and rural states, which officials say have been shortchanged in the past. Community leaders at the rally said New York would receive less than its proper share, partly because federal allocations would be reduced where local and state funds are used for HIV/AIDS services.
Fossella said the proposed funding might rely on an inflated ratio of HIV to AIDS cases in 18 states that did not report the data. "The lack of complete nationwide data led the Senate to write legislation giving noncompliant states an artificial number of 0.9 HIV cases for every AIDS case they report," he said in a prepared statement. "The problem is that New York, which has been dutifully collecting this information for the past six years, has an actual ratio of 0.56, despite having more HIV/AIDS cases than any other state in the nation."
Some 1,705 people on Staten Island have HIV/AIDS, according to Lillian Agbeyegbe, coordinator of the Staten Island Ryan White Title II HIV Care Network, the umbrella organization that sponsored the rally. According to the city Department of Health, the number citywide is more than 94,000.
Congress is expected to reauthorize the Ryan White Care Act by September 30.
Staten Island Advance
06.21.2006; Tevah Platt
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.