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HIV/AIDS Funding Short in State Budget

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Monday, April 11, 2016   

NEW YORK - The new state budget falls far short of funds promised to fight HIV/AIDS in New York, according to advocates.

Last year on World AIDS Day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged to commit an additional $200 million in the coming fiscal year to his campaign to end HIV/AIDS in New York by 2020.

But Charles King, president and CEO for Housing Works, notes that by January, that had changed to $40 million a year over five years.

"In the actual budget," says King. "What we have gotten so far is $10 million in new money, on top of the $10 million that was put in the budget last year."

He adds the budget includes $2 billion for housing programs, a critical need for people living with HIV, but does not specify how it will be spent.

According to King, without stable housing it is virtually impossible for people living with HIV to maintain the medical regimen necessary to keep their viral loads low.

"Unless there is a massive extension of housing, we cannot achieve the governor's goal of less than 750 new infections by 2020," says King.

In 2013, there were 3,000 new HIV infections in New York State.

King stresses that advocates hadn't asked the state for the $200 million. Keeping to the governor's Ending the Epidemic Blueprint, he says, would take about $140 million, and New York City has pledged almost half that amount.

"So, if we get $63 million from the city, we get $70 million from the state, that's well within the ballpark of what we thought we would need for this year," King says.

A coalition of AIDS advocates has sent the governor a letter urging him to turn his commitments into action, to make New York State AIDS-free.


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