New HIV Cases Outstripping Federal Funding for Florida AIDS Groups, Causing Growing Waiting Lists for Care, Services
AIDS organizations in South Florida have said that the growing number of HIV-positive people is exceeding federal funding, leading to waiting lists for medical care, counseling and other services, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports. While delays in AIDS care and services "long have been a way of life," leaders of local AIDS organizations said that waiting lists in each of the three South Florida counties have never been so extensive, according to the Sun-Sentinel. South Florida has become a "hotbed" for HIV/AIDS in recent years, with a rise in unprotected sexual activities among young men who have sex with men, African Americans and Hispanics, the Sun-Sentinel reports (LaMendola, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 9/4). Last year, HIV prevalence increased 44% in Palm Beach County, 30% in Broward County and 18% in Miami-Dade County (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/9). While the number of new infections "leaped" last year, Ryan White CARE Act grants dropped in Broward and Miami-Dade counties and rose "only slightly" in Palm Beach County, according to the Sun-Sentinel. In March, Broward County received $14.7 million from the federal program, down 1% since last year; Miami-Dade received $27 million, a little less than last year; and Palm Beach Country received $9.9 million, up 7% over last year's level. Ryan White grants are based on the number of new AIDS cases in an area and not on the number of new HIV cases. The number of new AIDS cases in South Florida has risen only slightly recently because of the effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs. This year, despite a continued growth in new HIV cases, AIDS advocates expect federal funding to remain the same, based on President Bush's fiscal year 2004 budget proposal (Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 9/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.