HIV/AIDS program funding is once again on the chopping block.
Despite the fact that funding is already lower than needed to adequately provide the services under the HIV testing and prevention program in our County, State Officials are once again considering decreasing, or potentially cutting altogether, HIV/AIDS program funding to mid-size counties.
The value of human life, in reference to HIV infection rates, should not be based on the size of the community or city one lives in. Human life in small and mid-size counties is just as important as in larger cities.
Without HIV testing funds, we would have to rely on clients being referred to us after they are diagnosed HIV positive either in the emergency room setting, or after being hospitalized with advanced AIDS. The testing and outreach component is essential in finding and diagnosing HIV positive people.
Elimination or further cuts to core HIV testing programs does not make the increased infections rates disappear and would greatly impact our highest risk populations.
Please take a moment to sign our petition to the CA Department of Health and Human Services and the State Office of AIDS. These folks report directly to the Governor and State Legislature. We must let them know that funding basic HIV/AIDS testing and prevention services in mid-size counties like Santa Barbara cannot be eliminated, ignored, or overlooked. Thank you once again!
I am contacting you regarding the matter of the current sequestration-related funding cuts toward HIV/AIDS testing and prevention services and how it affects my community. The currently proposed elimination or reduction of funding of Santa Barbara County among other counties would be devastating toward all those at-risk for HIV/AIDS and it is essential that the State Office of AIDS and the Department of Health and Human Services consider the importance of counties like ours. The fact is that our mid-size county serves significant numbers of HIV/AIDS clients and infection rates have nearly doubled between 2010 and 2012 and prevention of new infections is as important here as anywhere else in the State. Human life in small and mid-size counties is as important as in larger cities. Pacific Pride Foundation is the only HIV/AIDS organization in Santa Barbara County working with the County Public Health Department and is the largest such organization between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Elimination or further cuts to core HIV testing programs does not make the increased infections rates disappear and would greatly impact our highest risk populations –gay men, Latino/a families with children, women, injection drug users, and others – communities which are traditionally under-served or ignored.
I respectfully ask that you consider maintaining current HIV/AIDS testing funds to Santa Barbara County, and to mid-size counties such as mine. Thank you for your attention in this matter during an especially difficult economic time.