Arizona Hispanic Group Decides To End HIV/AIDS Services Through Ryan White Program
Arizona-based Chicanos Por La Causa has decided to stop providing HIV/AIDS services to Hispanics through the Ryan White Program, leaving local officials "scrambling" to find another Hispanic group to take over the services, the Arizona Republic reports. The group has provided such HIV/AIDS services as case management and behavioral health and nutrition programs.
It received $284,992 in Ryan White funding this fiscal year, an increase over the $256,908 it had received in the previous fiscal year, the Republic reports. However, Edmundo Hidalgo, CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa, said the group stood to lose $45,000 if it continued its HIV/AIDS services through the end of the fiscal year. He added, "We're disappointed that we're not able to continue the program. Obviously, there was a lot of hurt. There were a lot of clients that were very upset, very disappointed. But you have to do an evaluation and determine the viability of a program and services. This was the best decision for CPLC."
The group's caseload ranged from 50 to 100 clients, who will temporarily be shifted to other local agencies for services when the Chicanos Por La Causa contract ends in February.
According to the Republic, Maricopa and Pinal counties received $6.8 million in Ryan White funds this fiscal year to distribute to local groups. The allocation is up from the $6.5 million the counties received last fiscal year, and the increase is partly because of the increased number of minorities in the area with HIV/AIDS. Hispanics represent 23% of Arizona's known HIV/AIDS cases, the Republic reports.
Shawn Nau, director of general government for Maricopa County, said, "Culturally, there is such a stigma associated with HIV/AIDS that it's imperative that we have providers that are sensitive to those specific cultural needs." Nau added, "If people don't feel comfortable getting into the program, they're not going to get in the program at all. Under the worst-case scenario, we may have new patients who decide that since they don't see someone who is culturally sensitive on the list of providers, they might not seek care" (Wingett, Arizona Republic, 1/9).