Long Island Group Declares ‘State of Emergency’ for New York State’s HIV-Positive Minorities
The Greater Hempstead Black Leadership Commission, a Long Island, N.Y.-based not-for-profit organization that organizes volunteer efforts to fight AIDS, yesterday declared a "state of emergency" for New York's African-American and Latino communities, which bear the state's highest rates of HIV/AIDS, Newsday reports. By declaring the emergency, group officials said they hope to "bring about policy changes" that address the disease rates among these groups and create an awareness that leads to increased funding for African Americans and Latinos living with HIV/AIDS. "It's extremely important that we get the funding we need in order to educate, in order to feed and in order to house the people," Hempstead Council member Dorothy Goosby (D) said, noting that the disease is "escalating." According to the New York Department of Health, African Americans and Latinos represent 75% of the 142,376 AIDS cases in the state. Nassau County Health Department Commissioner David Ackman said, "This is where the epidemic lies -- African Americans -- and we can't be ashamed of it but bring attention to it so it doesn't continue" (Erbeck, Newsday, 8/23)
Conferences Call for Additional State Funding
Meanwhile, New York affiliates of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS held simultaneous news conferences around the state yesterday "decrying Albany's budget politics" and calling for more state funding for HIV/AIDS, especially among minority groups, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reports. According to the commission, the state now spends approximately $18 million less on HIV/AIDS programs than it did a year ago and has not allocated funds for the $62 million worth of new program proposals. The additional funding is needed "primarily for prevention work," Rev. Willie Davis of the Church of the Covenant said, adding that the groups aimed to garner support in the state Senate and then from the governor. In March, nearly 100 state Assembly members signed a resolution calling on the state to declare HIV/AIDS in minority communities a public health emergency. According to the state Division of the Budget, New York spends $2 billion on programs and services for people living with HIV/AIDS (Daneman, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, 8/23).