Yesterday I went to the rallies both here in San Francisco and Sacramento regarding the budget cuts that Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to create that would get rid of the Office of AIDS (a section of Public Health).
*The Governor has proposed a cut of $80 million to the State Office of AIDS (In addition to MediCal, In Home Supportive Services, and Social Security Income).
*Also has proposed removing all non-ADAP general funds from the State Office of AIDS. Although this would jeopardize funding from the federal government, like the Ryan White Fund and CDC funding.
*35,000 Californians currently rely on California’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program, and Arnold has suggested a $12.3 million cut to said program.
*This cut would hurt and destroy programs like Early Intervention Programs, where persons will find out their status at a much earlier stage and rather than in an emergency room, paid by both public and private health systems.
*This eliminates The Needle Exchange Program, Education and Prevention programs, and services where testing and condoms can be given freely.
*This cut is far more costly in the long term rather than a short term cut.
*This cut also dismantles California’s actions and response to the AIDS epidemic more than 25 years ago.
It’s estimated that over 150,000 people in California currently are living with HIV. We see an estimation of 5000-7000 new HIV diagnoses each year. It is also estimated that 20% of people are currently living with HIV but do not know their status.