CEO Mark Cloutier Comments on State Budget


(Jan 08, 2010) &emdash; In the preliminary state budget released today, Governor Schwarzenegger committed additional state funds for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), a cornerstone of California’s public health effort to fight HIV/AIDS.

As you know, ADAP is a program of last resort for uninsured and underinsured people with HIV/AIDS. Without it, more than 34,000 Californians would have no where else to turn for their medications and would be at risk for getting sick or dying. In his proposed 2010-11 budget, the Governor has committed to providing $87.5 million additional general fund support for this lifesaving program.

This is an important early victory in statewide efforts to ensure access to HIV/AIDS treatment for everyone who needs it. It is the result of advocacy work led by San Francisco AIDS Foundation and other HIV/AIDS service organizations to persuade the Governor to preserve ADAP back when we anticipated a budget shortfall of approximately $100 million and the program was in jeopardy.

But we’re not out of the woods yet -- there's more work ahead. Specifically:

  • The state general fund support stops short of ensuring funding for ADAP programs in county jails, an important setting for targeted HIV/AIDS intervention. We must continue our work with state and local officials to ensure that HIV positive people in county jails aren’t denied treatment, and preserve today’s commitment of general fund support for ADAP in the final version of the budget presented in July.
  • We are deeply concerned by the additional cuts to public health insurance programs such as MediCal and Healthy Families, and other essential social services including state-funded social security income for the elderly and disabled. These reductions will place an impossible burden on people with HIV in California, nearly half of whom rely on MediCal for health care coverage. This will be a key focal point of our efforts to fight budget cuts with our health advocacy colleagues.
  • Looking to the future, we will also redouble advocacy efforts focused on the restoration of funds for statewide HIV prevention and testing programs. As our experience shows, these evidence-based interventions are the most powerful way of fighting an effective battle against HIV/AIDS in San Francisco, California and across the nation.

 

We will continue to work collaboratively with state and local officials and our colleagues in the HIV/AIDS community to ensure adequate statewide funding for the fight against HIV/AIDS.

About San Francisco AIDS Foundation: The San Francisco AIDS Foundation provides leadership to prevent new HIV infections. Linking community experience with science, the Foundation develops ground-breaking prevention programs and bold policy initiatives to promote health and create sustainable progress against HIV. Established in 1982, the Foundation refuses to accept that HIV transmission is inevitable.

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