It’s not always easy to love the Greatest City That Has Ever Existed. On the one hand we have marriage equality, on the other we have deep spending cuts that hurt the most vulnerable and in need among us.
As New York City’s health department has reported that new HIV infections continue to increase among young gay and bisexual men, the city has cut $19 million in HIV prevention funding over the past five years and is moving to slash more of that funding.
“In the past five years, city tax levy funding for HIV prevention has decreased by almost $8 million, with another loss of more than $11 million in HIV prevention-related City Council funding,” Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner, wrote in a January 4 letter to a city AIDS group. “While the behavioral risk reduction category was largely spared the most severe budget reductions required in mid-2011, this category could no longer be spared when we were required to make cuts in the 2012 budget.”
The health department’s entire budget for the current fiscal year is $1.6 billion. Its prevention contracts are administered for the department by Public Health Solutions (PHS), a non-profit group.
The January letter followed a December 13 letter from PHS to at least nine AIDS organizations that were told their current contracts would be cut by 50 percent.
Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD), the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), the Latino Commission on AIDS, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center were among the groups informed their contracts would be affected.