San Francisco AIDS Foundation Calls for Increases in State HIV/AIDS Budget
The San Francisco AIDS Foundation yesterday voiced its "disappointment" with Gov. Gray Davis' (D) proposed budget for the 2001-2002 fiscal year, noting that "despite substantial budget surpluses, the state's AIDS programs are not fully addressing the epidemic" and asking Davis to "significantly increase support" for such programs, a SFAF release states. SFAF State Policy Director Dana Van Gorder said there is "mounting evidence" that new HIV infections and the number of people living with AIDS in California are increasing, and "state spending needs to reflect these realities." The governor's proposal calls for a federally funded $5 million increase for the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which provides HIV drugs to people who would not otherwise be able to afford them, but the SFAF said that the program needs double that increase. Noting that the state has a $7 billion budget surplus, the SFAF asked Davis to use state general funds to supply an additional $5 million needed for the "essential" ADAP, which serves more than 19,000 residents. However, Van Gorder added, it is "crucial" that the funds do not come "at the expense" of other HIV-related programs. SFAF and other advocates are also asking Davis and the Legislature to fund a "range" of HIV/AIDS programs such as treatment programs for gay men who use methamphetamine, "Prevention for Positives" programs to promote safe sex and stress the importance of adherence to "complicated" medication regimens among HIV-positive people, and affordable housing initiatives to help alleviate "one of the most pressing needs" of low-income people with HIV/AIDS (SFAF release, 1/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.