Connecticut Cities Receive Supplemental Ryan White Grants To Restore Some HIV/AIDS Services
Hartford and New Haven, Conn., have received supplemental funds from the Ryan White Program that could restore some HIV/AIDS services cut in response to reduced federal funding levels announced in March, the Hartford Courant reports (Waldman, Hartford Courant, 5/23).
According to the state's congressional delegation, Connecticut's Ryan White funding was reduced by about $725,000 in March under the Ryan White Reauthorization Bill (HR 6143), which President Bush signed into law in December 2006. Administrators of HIV/AIDS programs in Hartford and New Haven have said that the funding reductions for HIV/AIDS services have been more than $725,000. Hartford received about half of the $4 million it had expected, and New Haven received $3.3 million of the $6.6 million it had expected
According to Tina Cheatham, a Health Resources and Services Administration spokesperson, Ryan White funding formulas were changed this year to provide increased funding for cities with higher numbers of AIDS cases. The new formula provides more funds to cities that reported at least 2,000 new AIDS cases from 2001 to 2005. Hartford reported 1,132 AIDS cases during that time, and New Haven reported 1,749, which categorized both cities into lower funding tiers.
Connecticut's congressional delegation in March in a letter to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt asked that the state receive special consideration when $43 million in Ryan White Program supplemental funds were allocated. The letter was signed by Sens. Chris Dodd (D) and Joe Lieberman (I), as well as Reps. Christopher Shays (R), Rosa DeLauro (D), Joe Courtney (D), John Larson (D) and Chris Murphy (D) (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/26).
According to the Courant, Hartford has received an additional $913,000 and New Haven has received an additional $1.5 million in Ryan White funds. Dodd on Tuesday said he is disappointed about the size of the grants. He also criticized the Bush administration for not responding to the congressional delegation's calls to restore funding. "The reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act has been mishandled at many levels of government," Dodd said. Some HIV/AIDS advocates on Tuesday said that although the net reductions remain large, they are relieved. "It was so horrendous, now it's not quite so horrendous," Paul Botticello, executive director of AIDS Project Hartford, said, adding, "We were expecting a lot less." Hartford's supplemental funding is expected to be divided equally among about 12 programs that provide HV/AIDS support services. The funding will not be enough to restore all the services that had been eliminated, according to the Courant.
Connecticut also learned this month that federal funding for core HIV/AIDS medical care has been reduced by $256,000 and that a program to help HIV-positive people pay for antiretroviral drugs has been reduced by $600,000, the Courant reports (Hartford Courant, 5/23).