San Francisco, September 28 - What happens in our nation’s capital directly impacts our community. Congress is now deciding funding for the next fiscal year. San Francisco AIDS Foundation and our policy experts are closely watching the developments to ensure programs for HIV/AIDS are properly funded.
The United States Senate Committee on Appropriations has approved the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations measure for Fiscal Year 2012. The bill maintains current levels of funding for most domestic HIV/AIDS programs, including the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and HIV prevention efforts through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The committee approved a modest $15 million funding increase for The AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), for a total of $900 million for the fiscal year. There are two funding cuts: $190 million from medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and $4 million from Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA).
"No funding increases and cuts to several programs might seem like a defeat, but the actions of the Senate subcommittee are encouraging," said Neil Giuliano, CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation. "In this troubled economic environment, maintaining current levels of funding for most domestic HIV/AIDS programs is a victory. It’s the result of strategic and persistent advocacy by policy experts from the foundation and partner agencies across the country. That said, San Francisco AIDS Foundation remains concerned about the increased need for programs and services for people living with HIV/AIDS as a result of the bad economy. That’s why we will continue to push for adequate funding of all services vital to our community so that people receive proper care no matter their financial circumstance."
The Senate has passed a "continuing resolution" which allows the government to keep operating until November 18 at Fiscal Year 2011 funding levels. The House is expected to approve the same extension. Over the next seven weeks, members from the House and the Senate will hold meetings to draft a final appropriations bill which will determine funding for domestic HIV/AIDS programs. During that time, AIDS advocates will push to restore the $4 million to HOPWA and reduce the spending cuts to the NIH.
San Francisco AIDS Foundation encourages supporters to get involved to shape funding for the next fiscal year. There are several ways you can help.
Contact your senators and congressional representative to let them know that discretionary funding for HIV prevention, care, treatment, research, and housing is critically important to California because there are no additional state resources to replace or augment federal cuts. Also, tell your representative that Medi-Cal must not suffer cuts since thousands of HIV-positive, low-income people are transitioning to this program over the next two years and they still need comprehensive services to ensure proper care.
Find contact information for your representative.
Find contact information for your senators.
Attend a listening session for people to give input about upcoming changes to the HOPWA program. San Francisco AIDS Foundation is co-sponsoring a chance for interested parties to speak directly to federal decision makers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. We invite people living with HIV/AIDS, current supportive housing consumers, case managers, housing providers, planning council members, state and city employees, housing outreach workers, shelter staff, and HIV/AIDS and housing advocates in the San Francisco Bay Area to attend.
The listening session happens Tuesday, October 18 from 5:00 – 7:00pm at San Francisco AIDS Foundation offices (1035 Market Street, San Francisco). The cost is free.
About San Francisco AIDS Foundation
No city experienced epidemic levels of HIV faster than San Francisco. At San Francisco AIDS Foundation, we work to end the epidemic where it first took hold, and eventually everywhere. Established in 1982, our mission is the radical reduction of new infections in San Francisco. Through education, advocacy and direct services for prevention and care, we are confronting HIV in communities most vulnerable to the disease. We refuse to accept that HIV transmission is inevitable.