New York: Council OKs HIV Cuts
July 8, 2008
On June 29, the New York City Council voted 49-1 to pass a $59.1 billion budget for fiscal 2009 that included tighter funding for HIV services, while city STD funding increased slightly.
"We are happy that we were able to at least make a partial restoration in the HIV outreach area," said Christine Quinn, the council's speaker. "We wish we could have done more. All of us in government, in the HIV/AIDS community, in the health care community, are going to have to come together and try to find ways to do more with less."
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's HIV prevention and treatment budget from federal, state, and city sources was cut from $214 million in fiscal year 2008 to $172 million for 2009. Department officials, however, said some of the state and federal funds would be restored. City Council officials pegged the reduction in DHMH AIDS funding at a total of $4.3 million.
The AIDS group Housing Works said its analysis showed HIV cuts amounted to a higher $4.8 million figure, and that DHMH funding for hepatitis C and crystal methamphetamine programs had been eliminated.
The city, which saw a 60 percent increase in syphilis cases last year among gay and bisexual men, boosted its own STD funding from $5.5 million to $5.9 million. The STD services budget from combined federal, state, and city sources nonetheless dropped from $15.9 million to $14.4 million.
Many AIDS groups were disappointed but seemed resigned to the cuts.
"I think it is unfortunate given the epidemic that we have," said Soraya Elcock, deputy director of policy and government affairs at Harlem United, an AIDS group. "It's clearly about needing additional resources to address all the issues in the city."
Gay City News (New York City)
7.03.2008; Duncan Osborne
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.