Our West Virginia neighbors are already starting to see a Federal funding cut backs that we’ve all feared would come. The Fed announced that funding for West Virginia’s HIV-AIDS program is dropping by more than $200,000 because of the state’s low infection rate. Well that ‘s a double edged sword. Good & bad news.. Great that new infections are going down, but bad for those still in need with rising costs.
In looking up the HIV/AIDS cases in the State of WV here, this is what I saw that prompted this move. I didn’t provide all the statistics but just the ones that led categories or stood out to me;
- As of 12/31/2009. The total number of HIV/AIDS cases in WV were: 2,440
- The group most affected were Caucasians with HIV/AIDS: 1,737
- Infected males: 1,927
- Age groups: 25-34yrs of age- 832 infected. 35-44yrs of age- 805 infected.
- from 2008 WV State had 84 new infections and in 2009, the State had only 69 recorded new infections.
Now that all this with a grain of salt because as we know, there are a number of HIV infections that are never reported or the persons don’t know or care can never be known. Also, HIV+ persons that move into or out of the State.
The Department of Health and Human Resources said Monday that combined with last year’s reductions, the cuts total more than $617,000. The money is being redirected to states with higher incidence rates. Public Health Commissioner Marian Swinker says the state will have to eliminate a $20 reimbursement for HIV specimen collection and counseling services. Last year, that program gave 15 local health departments about $92,000. Two years ago, 49 health departments received the reimbursement.
Other federal funds will still cover the costs of lab testing by the Office of Laboratory Services. But HIV testing may not be available everywhere and on every day.
Any funding cuts is painful and very difficult to obtain once its been lost. We actually know and are able to serve some WV clients ourselves with our grant funding that is allowed. We hate to see our fellow AIDS Service Organizations get cut back, but it’s coming and we worry about our funding as well with the pending March ‘fiscal cliff’ talks again. Keep watching. Now you know.