Boston’s Ryan White CARE Act Funding Reduced by $1.1M This Year; 10 Programs To Be Eliminated, Others Cut Back
Boston this year will receive $1.1 million less than last year in federal Ryan White CARE Act funding for services for low-income HIV-positive people, the Boston Globe reports. The funding cut -- from $14.8 million in 2004 to $13.7 million this year -- is related to a decline in the city's number of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses, from 307 cases in 2002 to 263 cases in 2003 (Park, Boston Globe, 3/15). The cut represented the biggest reduction in Ryan White funding for Boston since the program began and will result in 10 HIV/AIDS-related programs being eliminated and others having to cut back services, according to the Boston Herald. Respite care, day care, and herbal and acupuncture treatment programs are expected to be terminated, and primary care, case management, mental health and meal services will be reduced. In addition, Boston health officials said that for the first time in 10 years, patients will be put on a waiting list to receive drugs (Heslam, Boston Herald, 3/15). Although HIV/AIDS diagnoses declined between 2002 and 2003, Boston health officials said that more HIV-positive people are living longer, requiring more services, according to the Globe. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D), speaking at the offices of AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts on Monday, called the cuts "devastating," adding, "The federal and state government are sending a dangerous message. By continually cutting AIDS funding, they're telling the people that the fight against AIDS is over. It is not over." Approximately 16,000 HIV-positive people live in Massachusetts, with 4,516 living in Boston (Boston Globe, 3/15). HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt earlier this month announced 174 grants totaling nearly $1.7 billion for states, territories and cities to provide care and services for low-income HIV-positive people. The grants are provided under three titles of the Ryan White CARE Act (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.