Hartford Courant Examines Funding for HIV/AIDS Programs Targeting Blacks in Hartford
Many people with HIV/AIDS in Hartford, Conn., are "frustrated" that programs serving blacks in the city appear to be "rapidly drying up," the Hartford Courant reports. Thirty-eight percent of Hartford residents living with AIDS are black and 40% are Hispanic. One-third of all funding for HIV/AIDS prevention programs in Hartford is targeted at blacks, according to William Gerish, spokesperson for the state Department of Public Health.
Recently, city budget problems nearly forced the Burgdorf clinic at the Hartford Health Department to close. The clinic had cared for residents in Hartford's North End, home to many black residents. An "eleventh-hour intervention of AIDS activists and educators, with the assistance of a few state lawmakers," allowed the clinic to remain open for another year, the Courant reports.
According to some Hartford HIV/AIDS advocates, low funding in the black community has been a long-term problem. Preventive services through the city's health department and the Urban League of Greater Hartford had been "readily available in the North End" about 10 years ago, but the local Urban League chapter is no longer involved and "new programs are scarce," the Courant reports.
In addition, some advocates and care providers said that programs targeting Hispanics are expanding, largely because the community has a "stronger infrastructure of community-based organizations vying for the funding," according to the Courant.
Angelique Croasdale, an HIV program manager for the Hartford Health Department, said, "When you look at the proportion of services on the south side of Hartford, compared to the north side, it doesn't break out evenly." She added, "We don't have a strong African American-based agency advocating for services in the North End. All that is going to rest on the (entire) community to take action."
Danielle Warren-Dias, an educator for the University of Connecticut Health Center, said, "If it weren't for the few watchdogs that we have, the African-American community would definitely fall off the radar. There is a disparity in the accessibility, and it's our fault, too. There was a national mandate by the [CDC] to test African-Americans, but that didn't happen" (Brown, Hartford Courant, 8/1).