Bay Area Hit Hard By Change in U.S. Funding for HIV/AIDS Programs
California and local governments are providing temporary assistance for Bay Area counties that have had federal funding for HIV/AIDS services cut, but HIV/AIDS advocates nationwide worry that the new federal funding formulas could compromise the safety net for people living with the disease, the New York Times reports.
In December 2006, Congress approved new distribution rules for funds under the Ryan White Program. The new rules added five cities to the list of those qualifying for financial assistance, although the overall pool of federal money remained about the same.
The rules change hit San Francisco and other Bay Area counties harder than other major recipients, seeing federal funds cut by about 31%. Overall, 29 cities lost funding under the new rules, and 27 received increases.
Advocates are particularly concerned about changes to the funding rules that restrict funds for meals, legal aid and other support services, arguing that the shift in policy could leave people with HIV/AIDS without access to such programs.
Deborah Parham Hopson, associate administrator for HIV/AIDS at the Health Resources and Services Administration, explained the motivation behind the change, saying, "We want to make sure that the majority of Ryan White dollars are spent on medical services that can impact the clinical picture of people living with HIV" (Eckholm, New York Times, 8/1).