Statement by Rebecca Haag on Globe Editorial Calling For Continued AIDS Funding
BOSTON, January 23, 2012— Statement by Rebecca Haag, AIDS Action President & CEO on the Need For Continued HIV/AIDS Funding:
“The Boston Globe’s editorial published Sunday, January 22 calling for continued investment in AIDS prevention is a timely reminder that we have the end of the epidemic within reach, if we can sustain the investments that have brought us so far in improving health outcomes for those living with HIV and AIDS, as well as reducing the transmission of HIV.
“On Wednesday, Gov. Deval Patrick will release his budget recommendations to the state Legislature. We hope that it includes $36.1 million for HIV/AIDS prevention, outreach, treatment, and education. Since 1999, the state’s investment in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention has paid off with a 54 percent reduction in new HIV diagnoses, which will save the state more than $2 billion in health care costs related to treating HIV.
“In the last five years, state funding for HIV and AIDS has been cut by $5 million. This has been exacerbated by a 25 percent cut in HIV prevention and education funding from the federal government. As HIV testing and counseling and prevention services have been cut—and in some instances eliminated—the state Department of Public Health now estimates that 10 percent of people living with a diagnosis of HIV or AIDS in Massachusetts are not getting their primary HIV health care needs met. This is bad not just for these people and their families, but for the public’s health as well.
“Massachusetts is a national leader in the care and prevention of HIV. It’s the only state that has seen reductions in rates of new diagnoses across every population. The health outcomes of people living with HIV/AIDS in Massachusetts are also much better than most. But these gains are threatened with further cuts in HIV/AIDS funding. As the Globe editorial noted, pulling back on HIV spending now would be ‘penny-wise but pound-foolish.’”
AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is the state’s leading provider of prevention and wellness services for people vulnerable to HIV infection. It provides services to one in six people in Massachusetts living with an HIV diagnosis. These services include HIV counseling and testing; needle exchange; mental health counseling; housing assistance; and legal services. AIDS Action works to prevent new HIV infections, support those affected by HIV, and tackle the root causes of HIV/AIDS by educating the public and health professionals about HIV prevention and care; and advocating for fair and effective HIV/AIDS policy at the city, state, and federal levels. Founded in 1983, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is New England’s first and largest AIDS service organization. In 2013, AIDS Action formed a strategic alliance with Fenway Health that will allow the two organizations to work more closely together and improve delivery of care and services to people living with HIV/AIDS. Learn more at www.aac.org.