AIDS service organizations in Canada are concerned over the federal government’s recent $26 million funding shift from HIV/AIDS services to vaccine research, the Canadian Press reports (, 5/19).

“We’re concerned about having to lay off staff, having to discontinue programs, and having our ability to fight HIV through prevention and education substantially reduced,” said Rick Kennedy, executive director of the Ontario AIDS network.

According to officials from Canada’s Liberal Party—such as Member of Parliament Carolyn Bennett—these budget cuts are in line with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s past treatment of AIDS service organizations in Canada.

The Canadian Press reports that Harper did not attend the International AIDS Conference in Toronto and continues to oppose safe-injection sites to reduce HIV transmission risk among intravenous-drug users.