This week, Gov. Charlie Baker announced $98 million in mid-year budget cuts to prepare for anticipated revenue shortfalls, with nearly $1 million being cut from the HIV/AIDS line item. AIDS Action Committee Executive Director Carl Sciortino released the following statement in response:
“The governor’s mid-year budget cuts could not come at a worse time for the state’s HIV prevention efforts. Initiatives to educate the public about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), an HIV prevention tool that holds extraordinary promise, are just beginning to gain traction. The Massachusetts Getting to Zero Coalition, which is made up of organizations from every region of the state, just released an ambitious plan to end the transmission of HIV in Massachusetts. Neither PrEP, nor the Getting To Zero plan, can work without more sophisticated outreach and prevention efforts, which rely on the state’s Department of Public Health as a key partner.
“Governor Baker’s proposed cuts would see $917,000 shaved from the state’s investment in HIV/AIDS, and all of the programs that would be impacted are prevention initiatives aimed at expanding access to HIV testing and PrEP, as well as access to sterile syringes and the overdose prevention medicine Narcan. Support services that help people living with HIV with legal issues, housing, and behavioral health would also be weakened with this cut.
“It is difficult to understand why the state would risk its historic gains in public health, and we hope that the legislature resists a budget cut that will ultimately result in turning back the clock for those living with HIV.”
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