Cuts Affect HIV/AIDS Funding

Dear Editor:

I am writing to let you and the public know about the local effects of the recent cumulative 10% budget cuts to New York\’s HIV/AIDS services. AIDS-Related Community Services (ARCS), which serves the seven counties of the Hudson Valley, receives its core funding from the NYS Department of Health\’s AIDS Institute and is the designated Community Service Provider (CSP) for the Hudson Valley.

Because of decreases in funding in this year\’s budget directly due to the cuts by Governor Paterson and the state legislature, ARCS has:

*    Eliminated our full-time Community Educator, who provided HIV education to high school and college youth and the general public of Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties
*    Eliminated our full-time Volunteer Coordinator, who traveled to health fairs, schools, colleges and corporations to raise community support and volunteers throughout our region
*    Eliminated a full-time substance abuse and HIV prevention counselor, who worked in Newburgh, Kingston and Poughkeepsie drug clinics
*    Eliminated our full-time Assistant Director of Education, who provided critical program oversight for our HIV prevention activities throughout our region
*    Closed our Personal Experience Speakers Bureau, which brought HIV-positive individuals into Hudson Valley high schools and colleges to talk to students about staying safe from HIV
*    Cut services and reduced the amount of food distributed from our Westchester County food pantry in spite of rising demand

As you can see, this first round of cutbacks has severely impacted our programs and services. ARCS and its fellow CSPs cannot absorb further cuts without threatening our very existence as New York\’s safety net for the thousands of residents with HIV/AIDS. We are asking all Hudson Valley state senators and assembly members to hold harmless HIV/AIDS service funding when they return to Albany for the special economic session on November 18th. We also encourage all Hudson Valley residents to call their local state representatives to voice their concerns over the state of HIV/AIDS funding.


Jay Dewey
Director, Public Relations & Resource Enhancement
AIDS-Related Community Services

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