Illinois: $1.7 Million More Sought to Prevent HIV in Chicago
November 8, 2006
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's proposed 2007 budget includes no new HIV-prevention funding, so Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) is seeking an amendment to add $1.7 million to address the city's rise in infections. Since 2004, Chicago's City Council has allocated $4.2 million for HIV prevention. The council is scheduled to vote on the budget Nov. 15.
Reported HIV/AIDS cases in Chicago have increased 20 percent since 2003, hitting African Americans and Latinos especially, according to AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC). Tunney said advocates are concerned with growing infection rates among gay and bisexual men and in minority communities. Blacks represent 36 percent of the city population, but they account for 55 percent of residents with HIV/AIDS, according to the city Department of Health. Puerto Ricans represent 15 percent of Chicago Hispanics, but they comprised 29 percent of HIV/AIDS diagnoses among Hispanics between 2003 and 2004.
Tunney's amendment would not shift internal Health Department funds but rather require that new funds be taken from other allocations as determined by the city budget director.
The Chicago area lost nearly $500,000 in state and federal HIV prevention services funding this year, according to AFC. The federal shift in focus on diagnosis and record-keeping means fewer funds are available for prevention education, condoms, school- and faith-based education, and other interventions, said AFC officials.
The funding gap coincides with the city's implementation of its prevention plan for 2007-2009, said operators of the city's two needle exchange programs (NEPs). The plan, developed by the city's 41-member Prevention Planning Council, recommended less NEP funding since IV drug use-related transmissions are declining.
11.08.2006; Johnathon E. Briggs