Federal Funding Cuts Put Strain on HIV Programs in Bay Area
Programs for HIV-positive residents in three Bay Area counties are considering cutting some services after program officials recently learned that the programs will be hit with an annual loss of $8.6 million in federal funds, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties receive funding for services to AIDS patients under the Ryan White Treatment Modernization Act. However, the 109th Congress voted to redistribute some funds from cities to rural areas, including communities in the South.
The announcement sparked immediate criticism from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and local health officials.
Pelosi on Tuesday sent a letter to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt seeking an explanation for the cuts. She said the decision violates an agreement reached in January between the Bush administration and Congressional Democrats that would have maintained federal funding for all three counties.
HHS officials could not be reached for comment, the Chronicle reports.
The Bush administration's authorization results in an estimated $7.4 million shortfall for San Francisco, which has the third-largest HIV-positive population among U.S. cities.
After being notified of the cuts on Monday, San Francisco's HIV Health Services Planning Council proposed a 36% reduction in funding meal deliveries, emergency housing and benefits counseling for the city's HIV-positive residents.
The council voted to maintain full funding for core services, including:
- Primary medical care;
- Mental health and substance abuse;
- Home health care; and
- Case management (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/23).