February 3, 2009
Advocates are worried about the potential effects of a possible cut in state assistance to HIV/AIDS programs. John Merz, executive director of the Connecticut AIDS Resource Coalition, said the Department of Public Health's proposed cut of $3.3 million is reminiscent of 2006, when a similar federal funding reduction jeopardized a range of programs assisting patients. "We know already, people are slipping through the safety net," he said. "If you cut the safety net people are going to fall through." Merz said CARC will lobby legislators to restore the funding before the budget is finalized. According to the state Department of Public Health, the number of residents with HIV/AIDS rose 4.7 percent from 2006 to 2007, and the present figure, 10,860, is 4.1 percent above the 2007 total. New HIV cases, however, declined from 772 in 2007 to 387 in 2008; AIDS diagnoses declined from 418 in 2007 to 358 in 2008.