Massachusetts Cuts HIV/AIDS, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Budgets
Massachusetts health programs, including HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy prevention programs, are "taking hits" under state budget cuts announced on Thursday, the Boston Herald reports. Gov. Mitt Romney's (R) administration announced a $3 million cut in AIDS services, according to the Herald. "Outraged" HIV/AIDS advocates said that the new funding cut together with last year's budget cuts of $12 million represent a 30% reduction in the state's HIV/AIDS program budget. Mary Ann Hart of Project ABLE said the reduced funding, which would cut "hard-core services, like nutrition program and home-care visits" for individuals with HIV/AIDS, would cause "interruptions in care and support." Although funding for AIDS-related drugs was not cut, Hart said that some of the programs affected by the budget cut are ones that help HIV-positive patients adhere with "complicated drug regimens." Last year's funding cuts resulted in the administration of 5,000 fewer HIV tests in 2002 than in the previous year, according to Hart, who said that "thousands" of people in the state are HIV-positive and "don't know it." She added that "even fewer" HIV tests would be offered this year as a result of budget cuts. The adminstration also announced $1 million in cuts for the state's teen pregnancy prevention program, which primarily serves teens in low-income areas. Teen birth rates in Massachusetts are currently at a 30-year low, and a Massachusetts Department of Public Health report released last year credited teen pregnancy prevention programs for the 27% drop in teen pregnancies over the past 10 years (Lasalandra, Boston Herald, 1/31).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.