Massachusetts Activists Rally at State House to Protect HIV/AIDS Program Funding
HIV/AIDS activists on Thursday rallied at the Massachusetts State House to urge lawmakers to protect the funding of state HIV/AIDS programs, the Boston Globe reports. State lawmakers last year cut funding for HIV/AIDS programs by $9.7 million, eliminating 16 counseling and testing programs and mental health services for 5,000 state residents. The activists, along with health officials, said that if funding for such programs is not protected, Massachusetts "faces the prospect of returning to the grim reality of the 1980s, when being diagnosed with HIV generally meant having less than 10 years to live." According to a study by the Rand Corporation and the University of California-San Diego, nearly 80% of HIV-positive Americans have developed resistance to at least one of the drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS, and researchers attribute this prevalence to missed doses and improper levels of the drugs. "We are starting to see people come in with brand new infections that are already resistant to drug treatment," Fenway Community Health Executive Director Dr. Stephen Boswell said, adding that "further cuts to support systems," such as programs that telephone HIV-positive residents to remind them to take medication, could be "deeply damaging" (Tangney, Boston Globe, 4/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.