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May 8, 2009

Activists Rally Against HIV Funding Cuts in Connecticut, New York

Activists in New York City and Hartford, Connecticut, rallied May 6 in separate efforts to influence lawmakers to retain funding to agencies and programs that provide services to people living with HIV.

Gay City News reports that protestors gathered on the steps of New York City Hall to rally against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed budget for the 2010 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The plan includes scaling back $6 million from housing programs for people living with HIV, $500,000 from meal programs that serve low-income positive people and $900,000 in reductions to HIV prevention services.

“This is an important issue, and we want to make sure that the mayor is focused on this,” said Diana Scholl, a spokeswoman for Housing Works, which joined New York AIDS service organizations in protest, including Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Bronx AIDS Services and Hombres Latinos De Ambiente. Nine activists were arrested.

On that same day, the Connecticut Post reports, 450 AIDS activists rallied outside the Capitol building in Hartford in response to the state’s proposed $2.5 million cut in funding to housing and intravenous needle exchange programs. Lawmakers are proposing the cuts to remedy a multibillion-dollar state budget deficit.

“This leaves a very uncertain future for those who rely on the trust of our government to help them be able to help themselves,” says Emilio Quilles, an HIV-positive Bridgeport, Connecticut, resident.

Currently, about 11,000 people are living with HIV in Connecticut.

Search: New York City, Hartford, Connecticut, Michael Bloomberg, Housing Works, Gay Men's Health Crisis, Bronx AIDS Services, Hombres Latinos De Ambiente, Bridgeport

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