California: Funding for Patients With AIDS/HIV Revised
October 5, 2006
Under legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, and pending a Senate vote after the November elections, rural parts of the state including Riverside and San Bernardino counties would receive more funding through revisions to the Ryan White CARE Act.
The measure would include HIV diagnoses in addition to AIDS diagnoses in formulating Ryan White state and city allocations for HIV/AIDS social and medical services. The result would send more money to rural and Southern jurisdictions fighting newer epidemics. In fiscal 2006, the two counties received $3.6 million in federal Ryan White funds. That would increase to $4 million in fiscal 2007, according to the Government Accountability Office, the investigative branch of Congress.
Case numbers reflect where diagnoses were made, but the revised act would more accurately count where patients live. About 7,440 people with HIV/AIDS live in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, said Peter DeMartino, public policy coordinator of the Desert AIDS Project. DAP treats 2,169 HIV/AIDS clients. Of the 30-40 new clients DAP sees per month, 95 percent are not newly infected, DeMartino said, noting, "Palm Springs has been underfunded for the longest time. We need to count where people really are."
Sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mary Bono (R-Palm Springs), the measure received Inland support from Reps. Ken Calvert (R-Corona), Darrell Issa (R-Vista), Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands) and David Dreier (R-San Dimas). Rep. Joe Baca (D-Rialto) voted against it.
Some representatives of large states and urban areas fear the revisions, barring more funding for the act, would leave them with less federal funding to fight HIV/AIDS. "That means if we're going to give to some people who are very deserving, we're going to have to take it from others who are very deserving," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles).
"Every attempt has been made to ensure that funds are directed to areas of greatest need," said Bono. "None of us wants to reduce funds for HIV services in any jurisdiction. But I ask you to consider carefully the existing disparities in funding and services."
Press Enterprise (Riverside)
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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.