Pennsylvania Announces Grant To Improve HIV/AIDS Services in Philadelphia Region; Housing Assistance Still Needed
Pennsylvania Sen. Vincent Hughes (D) and state Department of Health Secretary Calvin Johnson on Thursday announced a $1.5 million state grant to improve HIV/AIDS services in the Philadelphia region, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. The grant seeks to expand Philadelphia's rapid HIV testing program and will allow the city's AIDS Activities Coordinating Office to add more mobile rapid-testing units to reach underserved populations, but it does not provide housing assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS, according to the Daily News. The Daily News reports it is difficult for some HIV-positive people to pay for housing, medical care and other needs. Experts say the number of new AIDS cases in Philadelphia is decreasing, but the demand for AIDS services, including housing, has increased as HIV-positive people live longer because of antiretroviral treatment. According to the most recent Philadelphia AIDS Statistical Update, there were 508 new AIDS diagnoses in the city in 2005, compared with 1,333 in 1992. However, the number of people in the city living with AIDS during that same period nearly quadrupled, from 2,388 in 1992 to 9,340 in 2005, according to the report. In addition, federal funding for HIV/AIDS services in Philadelphia over the past five years has decreased by 10%, and state funding has stagnated, according to city Health Department figures. "There's just an overwhelming need, not enough resources and not enough political will to fix this problem," Action AIDS Executive Director Kevin Burns said (DiFilippo, Philadelphia Daily News, 12/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.