Declaring that, “Chicago’s strength is in the diversity of its communities,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel outlined
22 community strategies this weekend to better address Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual and Transgender, or LGBT, health issues, many which go beyond
traditional LGBT health care concerns. Read more »
When lawmakers talk about protecting "crucial state services," funding for HIV/AIDS prevention programs like the Illinois AIDS Drug Assistance Program
(ADAP) should be at the top of the list. "Withdrawing any of the
provisions of the program right now," Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago)
said at a Springfield press conference yesterday, "would literally be a
death sentence to its clients."
Feigenholtz joined an array of lawmakers and HIV/AIDS awareness advocates to push for SB 3821, an appropriations bill that would send
$18 million in new funding towards prevention and medical programs for
low-income patients in Illinois. Just over $10 million would flow into
ADAP, which has seen a huge uptick in enrollment since the recession
hit. Another $7.4 million would restore funding for prevention and
housing services that was redirected this year to cover medical costs
for new ADAP enrollees. It's obiously a tough time to request additional funding for any program. But the AIDS Foundation of Chicago estimates that
Gov. Pat Quinn's FY 2011 budget proposal underfunds
HIV services by $22 million.
Below are some highlights from yesterday's
press conference, in which participants stressed the importance of the
state's HIV services:
Earlier this week we took note of State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz'
(D-Chicago) warning that Illinois' AIDS drug program and HIV prevention
services were under siege due to the state budget crisis. Which candidates can voters count on to back the sort of "balanced and sustainable solution" that
Feigenholtz says is necessary to solve the looming public health
emergency? The AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the Illinois
Association of Public Health Administrators, and Illinois Public Health
Association put that question -- along with dozens more -- to nearly
400 candidates running in next week's primary. So far, Democratic gubernatorial
candidates Pat Quinn and Dan Hynes joined some 75 other candidates from across the Prairie State in responding. (On the other hand, all of the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate and governor declined to weigh in.)Check out the questionnaire (PDF) to see where the candidates stand.
Currently, 4,600 Illinoisans rely on the Illinois AIDS Drug Assistance Program
(ADAP), with over 100 additional people -- many of them unemployed -- applying each month. To meet an anticipated 15 percent surge in enrollees this year, the state is now being forced to cut back on another important service: HIV prevention. Last week, State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) convened a public hearing in Chicago to brainstorm "a balanced and
sustainable solution to this public health emergency.” David Ormsby has more on the latest casualty of the state budget crisis.