Minnesota House Votes To Eliminate Funding for Minnesota AIDS Project
The Minnesota House on Friday passed a budget bill that eliminates funding for the Minnesota AIDS Project, the largest HIV/AIDS prevention program in the state, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports (Wolfe, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 5/1). The amendment to the House version of the state Department of Health budget bill, which was sponsored by state Rep. Tom Emmer (R), also would prevent the organization from receiving any state grants and ban all state HIV prevention funding for Web sites, pamphlets or other communications containing "sexually explicit images or language." The measure would cut $425,000 -- about 10% of MAP's total annual budget -- in funding from the organization, MAP Executive Director Lorraine Teel said last week. Emmer said he introduced the amendment because he was dismayed by explicit language on the MAP-sponsored Pride Alive Web site, which provides health-related information for men who have sex with men. MAP said that the Pride Alive program, which also publishes magazines, is privately funded and receives no state money, a fact that is noted on its Web site (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/26). The state Senate version of the health department budget bill does not include HIV spending restrictions, but MAP lobbyists expect them to be proposed on the Senate floor, according to the Tribune.
The Star Tribune also examined the challenges MAP faces in its HIV/AIDS prevention work among MSM and African-born immigrants. MAP employs about 60 people and approximately 1,400 volunteers to talk with men in online chat rooms, distribute condoms and AIDS prevention information in bars and clubs and perform outreach among the city's new immigrants (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 5/1). The complete article is available online.