South Carolina To Use Federal Stimulus Money To Restore HIV/AIDS, Other Services
The South Carolina House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday approved a proposed budget plan that would use federal stimulus funding to continue HIV/AIDS services and other health programs, the AP/Columbia State reports. The $5.6 billion budget would restore some funding that was cut in July 2008 to health care, schools and colleges, according to the AP/State. The budget includes $1 million for an HIV prevention program that funds 39 church-based education initiatives, as well as $2.4 million for South Carolina's AIDS Drug Assistance Program. South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council Executive Director Bambi Gaddist said that she had been "deeply concerned" that the funds would be eliminated. "We're elated about their incorporation," she said, adding, "We've got to have $2.4 million just to keep a lid on the epidemic. You want [HIV-positive people] to be well, working and contributing to the economy, not sick and dependent on Medicaid."
The budget plan, which health officials said would prevent more service cuts, now goes to the full House for consideration. "This is not what we'd like to have, but it's the best we can do in the circumstances," House Ways and Means Chair Dan Cooper (R) said, adding, "We're not planning to raise taxes" (Adcox, AP/Columbia State, 2/20).