Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker this week announced $98 million in budget cuts in response to anticipated revenue shortfalls, including nearly $1 million in cuts to the HIV/AIDS line item. These cuts will impact a range of programs, including HIV counseling and testing, access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and access to clean syringes and life-saving Narcan.
“These reductions are concerning and could threaten the care and services that Fenway Health and other organizations provide to thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C, as well as the prevention programs that have been so effective in helping us reduce new diagnoses of HIV in Massachusetts,” said Fenway Health President and CEO Stephen L. Boswell, MD, FACP in response. “Continued investment in HIV/AIDS prevention and care is critical to reducing the spread of the virus and optimizing health outcomes for people living with the disease.
“To remain a national model in HIV/AIDS care and ultimately reach zero new HIV infections in the Commonwealth, we need consistent and deliberate investments in prevention work including increased outreach to high-risk populations and education about medications such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), which when taken as prescribed cuts the risk of HIV infection to nearly zero.”
“We urge the legislature to restore funding to education, prevention, and outreach efforts related to HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C. We look forward to working closely with House and Senate members to protect vital services for people living with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C and to prevent our residents from getting infected in the future.”
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