The governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has approved spending cuts of more than half a billion dollars to the state's budget. Most of the savings are being made in social services - with deep cuts in child welfare programmes, health care for the poor, and HIV/AIDS initiatives. BBC
Services for people with AIDS, which had previously been spared by the Legislature, were reduced by $52 million by Schwarzenegger on Tuesday. That cut will mean no state spending on HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, education or housing services for people with the disease. KFF
Education efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS are also expected to be reduced as a result of state budget cuts, according to Megan O’Day, executive director of AIDS Community Research Consortium in Redwood City. Health care costs for an HIV-positive person over 20 years is $600,000, she estimated, compared to $80,000 for a person without HIV during the same period of time. SF Examiner
"It's a heartless act which will set the clock back on AIDS prevention, care and treatment back to where it was 25 years ago," according to Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. KPBS.org
So, it would appear that we may need an Enduro America in the future to help increase awareness of an epidemic that already has hotspots that mirror anything one can find in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Let's hope the California state legislature is successful in halting these cuts, and that the trend doesn't spread to other financially strapped states.