Two of Rochester's largest AIDS service organizations—AIDS Community Health Center and AIDS Rochester—are joining to become one ASO early next year, reports the Democrat and Chronicle.

According to the article, officials hope that the new setup will ease funding issues and expand services in the area. The merger will take place in January of 2010, and neither organization plans to downsize—they will bring their entire staffs to a joint office—but they will offer their programs separately to their constituents. They will run on an annual budget of $8 million to $10 million; previously, each ran on $4 million.

During the past five years, private donations plummeted, funds for state and federal programs were slashed and health care costs for people living with HIV multiplied. As a result, it's becoming increasingly difficult to meet the costs of running and keeping organizations like these two afloat.

Assemblywoman Susan John (D–Rochester) says the merger is an effective solution and hopes that other organizations follow their lead. The funding climate is “just really ugly out there,” she said. “I don't really think this is a risk for our community. I think this results in an even bigger, better and more comprehensive way for providing services.”