November 23, 2009

November 23, 2009
Increase Southern AIDS Spending

Thanks for stopping by to check out another day in my life. Today is Monday and the start of another work week for some and for others a week of vacation for Thanksgiving.

For me, it is another work week. We are still working endlessly to collect donations for our Teddy Bear Touchdowns for children with HIV and AIDS in 24 US cities and 5 foreign countries. We are hoping to bring hope and joy to over 6000 children with HIV and AIDS around the world this year.

For those of you who have already donated please accept my thanks and appreciation. If you have not donation yet, you can do so by going to the "Make a Donation" section of this website and "adopting" one or more child for this year's events.

Today I would like to talk about the high rate of new HIV infections in the South.

Southern activists and health care providers plan to urge the Obama Administration to allocate more federal and state funding to Southern states, The Associated Press reports. The advocates will made their case Monday, November 16, to Jeffrey Crowley, the director of the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP). Crowley was in Jackson, Mississippi, the latest city at that point to host of a series of nationwide town hall–style forums about HIV/AIDS.

President Barack Obama signed the $2.2 billion Ryan White HIV/AIDS extension act last month, which will continue funding for rural areas, but activists said it is not enough to keep up with the new cases. Debbie Konkle-Parker, a Jackson nurse practitioner, said that while the act appropriated HIV/AIDS funding to Southern states when it was last reauthorized in 2006, funding was not at the same level as large metropolitan cities.

“The inequities were pretty huge,” she said. “People were spending [Ryan White] money in New York City to do journal writing conferences, and in Mississippi, we could not even get people to the clinics.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 46 percent of new HIV cases in 2007 were in the South. However, 25 percent of new cases that year were in the Northeast and 17 percent in the West — two regions that have received the bulk of federal HIV/AIDS funding in recent years.

Some southern states, such as Kentucky, have been forced to cut funding for HIV/AIDS programs. The state had been contributing $250,000 annually before 2007. Now, according to the article, the state has almost no funding set aside for its AIDS drug assistance program (ADAP). Kentucky’s ADAP currently serves 1,277 low income HIV positive people, with 100 more on a waiting list the longest such waiting list in the United States.

Now I know in Duval County (Jacksonville) where I live we have been out of HOPWA money since late August. While they may not mean anything to you, it means people living with HIV and AIDS in my area will have to struggle to keep a roof over their head and their utilities paid while struggling with the high costs of their health care.

So I implore President Obama to increase HOPWA, IACP and ADAP funding under Ryan White. An American life is a terrible thing to waste.

Those are my thoughts. What about yours? Drop me a line and let me know.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab