Baton Rouge, La., HIV/AIDS Nonprofit Groups Seek Funds
March 10, 2010
Nonprofit HIV/AIDS groups in the Baton Rouge area are struggling to find alternate funding sources in the wake of state and federal budget cuts.
The Baton Rouge AIDS Society recently saw its $158,000 CDC allocation for prevention and outreach slashed by $98,000, said Arnold "A.J." Johnson, the society's founder.
"This is more than devastating," Johnson said. "I'm calling legislators and doing whatever I can do. People get infected every day and the problem is escalating."
Before the reduction, Johnson explained, the group's HIV testing van went into communities twice each week. The service now will have to be scaled back to once or twice every other month.
"If people get infected and they don't get tested, the disease spreads," said Johnson. "This will cost lives."
Midway through fiscal 2009-10, Family Services of Greater Baton Rouge lost $34,500 in state funding for HIV/AIDS prevention, according to Rene Milligan, spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. The group provides counseling and testing services, said Mary Helen Borck, its director of HIV/AIDS programs.
The Advocate (Baton Rouge)
03.08.2010; Steven Ward