Chicago was recently hit with the bad news it has some of the highest HIV infection rates of any city in the nation--especially high in the adult African American men who have sex with men population. The state has already made cuts to Chicago's bare-bones AIDS/HIV budget, forcing the HIV services organizations and Public Health to plan to soon make choices between providing housing to infected homeless, and providing much needed medication.
The AIDS Foundation of Chicago is sounding the alarm that a $4.6 million cut in Public Health funding could mean the end of many of the support services that the city's HIV+ population have come to rely on.
More after the jump.
The AIDS Foundation, in a press release, warns:
A 12 percent budget cut for public health would mean fewer City services for an array of essential health activities. Substance abuse treatment services would need to eliminate $500,000 in services (a 12-15% reduction); sexually transmitted disease treatment clinics would lose 4 staff positions, straining already overwhelmed city clinics...
That's scary stuff, but it gets worse for HIV prevention and care programs:
Essential HIV services would receive $175,000 less for HIV prevention and care programs. While lower than the cut for other sections, the 4% reduction comes on the heels of an $800,000 funding loss to Chicago from the state needed to keep the AIDS Drug Assistance Program afloat.
The AIDS Foundation is calling for anyone who can to please pitch in and help contact the Mayor and City Council about making Public Health and HIV prevention a priority.