Ohio: More Money Key to Preventing AIDS, Advocates Say
September 22, 2008
Cleveland HIV/AIDS advocates echo the remarks of national health leaders who told a House subcommittee on Sept. 16 that the fight against the disease needs more funding.
"The programs that desperately need funding aren't getting the necessary resources that they need," said Earl Pike, executive director of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland (ATGC).
Federal funding for Cleveland-area AIDS agencies has dropped by more than half since 2000, even though the city Department of Public Health (DPH) reports the number of residents with the disease has increased by 49 percent, to 3,601. The amount of CDC prevention funds distributed by the state to Cleveland in 2007 -- $837,988 -- was almost 20 percent less than the total in 2001, after adjusting for inflation.
Pike said about 25 percent of that allocation went to ATGC. The task force spent $4.2 million on programs last year, including $500,000 on prevention. He noted that funding prevention makes economic sense given that the lifetime costs of treating a person with HIV are around $800,000.
"What we hear is that there's not enough money. But there is enough money," Pike said, alluding to the millions of federal dollars spent on abstinence programs. "We're simply making moral decisions on how to spend that money."
Also reduced is funding for federal block grants and Cuyahoga County's Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board for HIV/AIDS prevention efforts.
According to DPH, almost one man in 100 in Cleveland is now living with HIV/AIDS.
Plain Dealer (Cleveland, O.H.)
09.17.2008; Angela Townsend