Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Massachusetts AIDS Activists Protest at Statehouse for More AIDS, Hepatitis C Funding
Massachusetts AIDS service providers, advocates and people with HIV on Thursday at the Statehouse protested against what they consider "inadequate funding" proposed by Gov. Paul Celluci (R) for the state AIDS and
hepatitis C budget, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports. Hepatitis C has become a "growing concern" in Massachusetts, as the number of known cases is rising and health officials believe "only a small percentage of those afflicted realize" they are infected. State Sen. Mark Montigny (D), chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said that the disease is "largely misunderstood" among state lawmakers and noted a "tremendous stigma attached to the disease," which can be transmitted via contaminated needles and unprotected sex. The Legislature must make funding or program cuts, but Montigny said that AIDS and hepatitis C spending "should not face the budget ax." Cellucci has recommended a $20,000 cut from current AIDS spending of $51,136,334 and a 22% cut in hepatitis C funding from the current $2.75 million. Last year, Cellucci vetoed a $1 million budget restoration to the AIDS line item, cutting that budget for the first time in state history. More than 12,500 state residents have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, and another 7,000 may be infected. An estimated 100,000 residents have hepatitis C (Nangle, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 4/6).
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