Dispatches from the fight against homelessness and AIDS
Posted by Sunny Bjerk , February 28, 2013
Image from New York State Department of Health
Every day in New York State, 11 people are diagnosed with HIV and 5 people die from the disease. Our state continues to lead the nation in the number of persons living with HIV/AIDS, with an estimated 130,000 people living with the disease and as many as 34,000 people who are infected but are unaware of their status. People of color continue to be disproportionately impacted and nearly one-third of newly diagnosed HIV cases show a concurrent AIDS diagnosis.
Without a doubt, the challenges to ending the epidemic in New York persist.
You can imagine, then, our dismay to see that Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget has proposed a $12 million cut to the AIDS Institute, which could result in the dismantling the AIDS Institute as an independent center within the State’s Department of Health.
We cannot allow this happen.
For over 30 years, the AIDS Institute has played a pivotal role in the domestic fight against HIV/AIDS, creating and implemented countless programs and services to help PWLAs in our State and serving as a successful model of HIV prevention and education for the nation.
The AIDS Institute also brings in hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants to the State to support its HIV services and programs. In addition, this organization has long-standing, effective partnerships within the AIDS community and other federal, State and local government agencies.
And because of this proven and trusted effectiveness, the AIDS Institute has been included in New York State’s budget for 25 years, except for this year. This elimination minimizes the important role the AIDS Institute plays within the Office of Public Health and symbolizes a regression to a prior, defunct organizational structure and a lack of State recognition of the importance of the HIV, STD, and hepatitis programs that are administered by the AIDS Institute. In addition, this elimination leads to the perception that the Governor and the Division of the Budget no longer see HIV as an important health issue for the State.
The identity of the AIDS Institute and the importance of HIV as an issue in this State should be recognized and respected.
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