2019 Budget: More Needed to End the Epidemics
In late June, Governor Newsom signed his first state budget after months of negotiation with the legislature. Here’s how our budget agenda fared and what it means about California’s progress on ending the HIV, hepatitis C and STD epidemics.
INSUFFICIENT HIV, HEPATITIS C & STD FUNDING
Community-based organizations working on the frontlines of the HIV, HCV & STD epidemics worked together to ask for $20 million for testing, linkage to treatment and prevention initiatives for each condition. Our elected officials responded by allocating only $5 million in ongoing funding for each condition. It’s a significant improvement but still way below community needs.
$0 FOR A PLAN
This past year, over 155 organizations and 500 activists from across the state urged the legislature and governor to allocate $2 million to establish a task force and create an integrated strategic plan to coordinate new investments in effective education, prevention, and treatment programs. Ultimately the governor did not take action this year, and we will not be silent. Our work continues. Join us by signing our petition calling on California leaders to create a task force to #EndTheEpidemics!
HARM REDUCTION PROGRAMS TO GET CARE NAVIGATORS
There was some good news this year for harm reduction funding! The budget includes $15.2 million for the next four years to fund a staff person at each of the state’s syringe access programs, who will work with people who use drugs who are not in treatment. These Care Navigators will connect people to health care services, including HIV and HCV testing and treatment or medication-assisted treatment options for substance use such as methadone and buprenorphine.
We’ve seen small incremental changes to funding for STDs and HCV, but have also fallen far short of what our community needs. Yet, even the smallest changes are evidence of a larger shift coming. These are just the beginnings of our new movement to bring power to the people — power that will grow as we continue to demand the resources our communities need. Thank you for standing with us and lifting up your voice.