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West Volusia, Fla. Program Loses Funding

June 30, 2003

HIV is on the rise in Volusia County, Fla., especially among blacks, women and young adults, and advocates worry things will only get worse after Sept. 1. That is when the West Volusia Authority stops funding the area's AIDS community outreach program. Unless other sources of money are found, West Volusia will lose its only outreach worker, HIV intervention specialist Lynnett Robinson. Robinson, who has HIV, works the streets urging prevention, testing and treatment.

Last year, the Hospital Authority approved a pilot program, allocating more than $57,000 for HIV outreach and intervention services for the area. But at a recent meeting, commissioners voted 4-1 to stop the funding. Citing money problems and the need to stay focused on indigent care, they canceled funding for seven programs and reduced an eighth, saving almost $360,000. The authority provides $4 million a year for indigent care.

Dixie Morgese, Robinson's boss and the executive director of the Outreach Community Care Network, said the cuts might create a domino effect since the authority's contribution provided the foundation for landing other grants. She said losing Robinson will create a huge void for AIDS prevention in West Volusia. "She'll pull up to someone and say, 'Get in the car,' and she'll take them to treatment," she recalled about Robinson's efforts. She said Robinson has worked with 111 individuals in West Volusia.

In 2002, Volusia ranked eighth out of the state's 67 counties in new AIDS cases and 10th in HIV cases. During the first four months of 2003, the county Health Department reported 32 new HIV cases, compared to 74 in all of 2002. More than 1,000 people in the county are living with HIV/AIDS, according to Bill Drahos, who oversees HIV/AIDS reporting for Volusia.

Back to other CDC news for June 30, 2003

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Adapted from:
Daytona Beach News-Journal
06.27.03; Lynn Bulmahn

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.
See Also
More HIV Treatment Policy News on Florida


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