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Schwarzenegger's 'Catastrophic' AIDS Funding Cuts to be Protested at Pershing Square
Vigil & March Tuesday Aug 11th

Slash and Burn' Approach is Wrong-headed Way for State to Handle Public Health Epidemic

August 7, 2009 - AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the nation's largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider, is joining a broad-based coalition of AIDS advocates and patients to protest draconian budget cuts that were blue lined out of the budget by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and that will jeopardize the public health by eliminating the vast majority of funding for AIDS prevention, care and treatment.

What: AIDS VIGIL & MARCH : Protesting Schwarzenegger's Drastic AIDS Budget Cuts

When: Tuesday, Aug 11th at 7:00pm

Where: Pershing Square, Downtown LA 532 South Olive Street (between 5th & 6th) March proceeds to Reagan State Office Building, 300 South Spring Street

Contact: Lori Yeghiayan, AHF Associate Director of Communications 323.860.5227 work; 323.377.4312 mobile

Schwarzenegger's cuts to HIV/AIDS programs include: an 80% reduction in funding for Education & Prevention, a 70% cut in HIV Counseling and Testing, a 50% cut for Early Intervention (that provides primary medical care), a 100% cut in Therapeutic Monitoring Program (the program that monitors the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS drugs administered through the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program), a 20% cut in Housing and more than a 50% cut in funding for Home and Community-Based Care.

"With a single stroke of his blue pencil, Governor Schwarzenegger has terminated the state's AIDS programs and, along with it, the lives of some of the state's most vulnerable citizens," said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "The Governor's heartless act is not only deadly, but guaranteed to cost California taxpayers millions more in the future. With HIV testing programs sidelined and the state's ability to prevent new infections stymied, new infections in California will increase-each new infection can mean up to $600,000 dollars in lifetime health care costs. A 100% cut to the Therapeutic Monitoring Program is the definition of penny-wise and pound-foolish-with the ability to monitor the effectiveness of lifesaving AIDS drugs hampered, the state's already cash-strapped AIDS Drug Assistance Program will only end up spending more for drugs."

"Governor Schwarzenegger's unilateral decision to essentially dismantle the state's lifesaving HIV/AIDS programs will cost lives, endanger the public's health and constitutes negligence," said Whitney Engeran-Cordova, Director of AHF's Public Health Division. "The state's ability to identify people living with HIV is now severely crippled-creating an enormous obstacle to the prevention of new infections and linking those who need it to treatment. Not only will the Governor's callous funding cuts devastate those living with HIV/AIDS who rely on the services the state provides to stay alive and healthy, but today's cuts also pose a serious threat to our shared responsibility to combat the spread of HIV in California."

###


Source:
http://www.aidshealth.org/news/press-releases/schwarzeneggers.html



About AHF

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the US' largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 80,000 individuals in 22 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia. Additional information is available at www.aidshealth.org



AIDS Healthcare Foundation
UNITED STATES
Ged Kenslea,
Communications Director, AHF
(323) 860-5225 work,
(323) 791-5526 mobile
gedk@aidshealth.org
or
Lori Yeghiayan,
Associate Director of Communications, AHF
(323) 860-5227 work,
(323) 377-4312 mobile
lori.yeghiayan@aidshealth.org


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