Connecticut AIDS Activists Rally to Support Funding Increases for HIV/AIDS-Related Initiatives
About 200 Connecticut AIDS activists rallied at the Capitol in Hartford on Wednesday to show their support for two bills that would boost funding for HIV prevention and vocational training for people with HIV/AIDS, the Hartford Courant reports. The first bill would increase the state Department of Public Health's HIV prevention budget by $1.2 million, while the second would allocate $500,000 to the Department of Social Services for the establishment of two new vocational education programs for people with the disease and would support a similar program already up and running in New Haven. According to state Rep. Grace Scire (D), who addressed the crowd, both bills have received early committee approval and are now in the appropriations committee. However, state Rep. Toni Harp (D), co-chair of the public health committee, said the bills still have "many miles to go" before receiving approval. Shawn Lang, assistant director of the Connecticut AIDS Residence Coalition, noted that HIV/AIDS prevention and education funding in the state has not increased since 1995, although 2,000 new AIDS cases have been reported over the same time period. "The Legislature didn't put one dollar into the AIDS line items (in the state budget) last year -- not one," she said. The activists rallied under the slogan: "AIDS isn't over, it's all over Connecticut" -- the same slogan used at last year's rally. In addition to supporting the two bills, the Connecticut AIDS Residence Coalition is also asking for a $1 million increase in bond funds for housing for people with AIDS (Condon, Hartford Courant, 3/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.