New York City Health Department To Receive $5M Annually To Fight HIV/AIDS, Mayor Says
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) on Wednesday said that the city's Department of Health will receive an additional $5 million per year to fight HIV/AIDS, Long Island Newsday reports. Bloomberg said the money will go to help minority communities at "highest risk" of HIV infection, according to Newsday. "Too many lives are affected, and too many people die prematurely," Bloomberg said (Virasami, Long Island Newsday, 12/1). The city currently spends $8.7 million annually on HIV/AIDS prevention (Santora, New York Times, 12/2). New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said that AIDS-related causes are the leading cause of death among women ages 25 to 34 in the city and 90% of new HIV infections occur among African-American women and Latinas, according to the New York Daily News (Colangelo, New York Daily News, 12/2). Frieden said that the city's one-hour HIV testing program has been successful, according to Newsday. "This means more people will be able to know their HIV status and be able to better protect their own health, protect their partners and stop the spread of HIV," Frieden said. The health department tested 31,126 people through the program between Jan. 1 and Oct 31. However, New York City Council member Christine Quinn (D), chair of the health committee, said that the additional $5 million "doesn't go far enough to deal with the HIV/AIDS crisis," according to Newsday. "Year after year, the mayor has proposed eliminating important HIV funding only to be blocked by the council," Quinn said, adding, "The money that he now wants to make permanent was in fact created by the City Council" (Long Island Newsday, 12/1). Bloomberg also promised to fund "politically unpopular" plans such as needle-exchange programs, according to the Daily News. "I'm 62 years old, and I've long ago gotten over the problem of worrying what people think," Bloomberg said, adding, "I'm going to do what I think is right" (New York Daily News, 12/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.