Los Angeles County Receives Less Federal Funding This Year for HIV/AIDS Services
Los Angeles County this year will receive $3.3 million less in federal funding to provide services for low-income people with HIV and AIDS than it did last year, a drop of 8%, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services officials announced Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports (Richardson, Los Angeles Times, 3/2). Under the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act, the county will receive about $36.6 million in federal grants, which HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson announced Monday (HHS release, 3/1). According to Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, one reason that Los Angeles County is receiving less federal funding is that allocations are determined partially by the number of AIDS cases in an area. In recent years, the number of people developing AIDS has "slowed," but the number of HIV-positive people has risen, the Times reports. County DHS officials said about 1,500 to 2,000 people in Los Angeles County are infected with HIV each year. Federal funding also was reduced this year for 39 other metropolitan areas eligible to receive funds under the Ryan White Care Act.
Weinstein said that the reduction in federal funding could yield "significant hardships" for people with HIV and AIDS because of rising prescription drug costs and the possible effects of the state budget deficit on AIDS programs, the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 3/2). In his fiscal year 2004-2005 budget proposal, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) proposed limiting enrollment in the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program -- a federal- and state-funded program that provides antiretroviral medications to uninsured and underinsured patients with HIV/AIDS -- to the current level of 23,900, a move that would place an estimated 1,440 individuals per year on a waiting list for the program. The budget proposal also would provide no additional funds for ADAP (California Healthline, 2/19). "The most immediate and pressing concern is access to medical care," Weinstein said, adding, "We had already presented to the county the need for 1,000 more treatment slots every year for indigent patients. ... That was going to be a struggle without this cut" (Los Angeles Times, 3/2).
Eight other California metropolitan areas received funds under the Ryan White CARE Act. Grant amounts are provided below.
- Oakland, $6.6 million;
- Orange County, $5.2 million;
- Riverside-San Bernadino, $6.8 million (HHS release, 3/1);
- Sacramento County, $2.9 million (Jahn, Sacramento Bee, 3/2);
- San Diego, $10.3 million;
- San Francisco, $29.8 million;
- San Jose, $2.7 million;
- Santa Rosa, $1.1 million (HHS release, 3/1).