Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-11-25
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Sequester could lead to massive cuts in HIV testing, treatment
by Todd Heywood, American Independent

facebook twitter stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

The AIDS Drug Assistance Program is among the many federal programs that will take a hit if $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts go through March 1, and those cuts could potentially lead to an increase in HIV transmission, the White House said Sunday in a reporton the anticipated state-by-state impacts of the so-called sequester.

The report — part of the Obama administration's public campaign to encourage a compromise between Congress and the White House in order to avoid the austerity measures — says the budget cuts could lead to a drop in access to life-saving HIV medications and an increase in treatment costs for those infected with the virus.

"Cuts to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program could result in 7,400 fewer patients having access to life saving HIV medications," the report says. "And approximately 424,000 fewer HIV tests could be conducted by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) State grantees, which could result in increased future HIV transmissions, deaths from HIV, and costs in health care."

In Michigan, those cuts could result in a loss of $315,000 in federal dollars used for HIV testing. That could mean 7,900 fewer tests conducted. In Iowa, the state could lose $61,000, resulting in 1,500 fewer HIV tests, while Florida — one of the states hardest hit by the HIV epidemic — could lose $1.4 million, resulting in nearly 36,000 fewer HIV tests.

This news comes at a time when LGBT leaders and AIDS service organizations in the U.S. are struggling to address a sharp increase in new HIV cases in young men who have sex with men. At the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's annual Creating Change conference held in Atlanta last month, CDC official Gregorio Millett released disturbing data estimating that in 30 years half of the current population of 20-year-old men who have sex with men will be infected with HIV. For black men who have sex with men in that cohort, the infection prevalence rate is estimated to reach 70 percent in that same time frame.

Until earlier this year, thousands of Americans infected with the virus were on waiting lists to gain access to HIV medications. The drugs can costs thousands of dollars a month, but without them, most people grow very sick, increasing their health-care costs even further. The Obama administration in July 2012 distributed $69 million to 25 states to eliminate the waiting lists for the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs in those states, butsome people continue to wait for support to access the drugs.

Public health officials have often touted HIV treatment as a successful prevention method, citing several studies showing that when a person is on successful anti-retroviral medication care — meaning the virus is nearly undetectable in the blood — he or she is significantly less likely to transmit the infection.

But not having access to the medications can lead some who are infected to grow sick quickly and possibly die from complications from the infection. For those currently taking powerful HIV-treating drugs, losing access to that medicine could lead to their bodies to develop resistant strains of HIV. Those strains are transmissible, and a CDC official told The American Independent that 16 percent of new HIV infections each year are resistant to one or more HIV medications currently available. Resistant strains make the virus more difficult to treat, create more complicated treatment protocols, and end up costing more per person with HIV.

In addition to the issues surrounding treatment, a reduction in testing could also trigger an increase in new infections. Studies show that in the U.S., 20 percent of persons infected with HIV do not know they harbor the virus, but it's worse among men who have sex with men. A 2010 study found that while one in five gay and bisexual men in 21 U.S. cities was infected with HIV, 44 percent of them were unaware of their infection. Last November, the CDC reported that about 60 percent of young people ages 13 to 24 living with HIV were unaware they were infected.

Studies show that those who are infected but unaware of their status are three-and-half times more likely to transmit their infection.

HIV activist Laurel Sprague, the regional Coordinator for the North American affiliate of the Global Network of People Living with HIV, was shocked by the White House's analysis.

"Cuts to HIV testing and treatment mean that, in Michigan and around the country, testing will not be as easily available to our young people and that the many young people who lack good private health insurance will be challenged to find the medical care they need," Sprague said in an email.

"The consequences are clear," she continued. "In the short term, we will see more of these young people die of AIDS. There will be long term effects as well. This is not a system that can simply be reversed once members of Congress finally decide to live up to their responsibilities. The community viral load will remain high and the cycle of new infections between people who do not know their HIV status will continue. Those newly infected will not learn of their status or receive timely treatment, increasing their risk of death as well."

facebook twitter stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Chicago sex ed gets makeover; youth launch 'Chicago Wears Condoms' campaign 2015-11-25
World AIDS Day in Chicago 2015-11-25
Briefs: PrEP study; Point opens applications; Social workers to be honored 2015-11-25
Larry Kramer's pivotal call-to-action honored in solo exhibition at Center 2015-11-20
HRC scores IL companies in 2016 LGBT Corporate Equality Index, P@W reacts 2015-11-19
AFC holds annual meeting, announces new strategic plan 2015-11-17
ViiV Healthcare holds Couch Talk 2015-11-17
Following Charlie Sheen interview, GLAAD shares statement, HIV & AIDS guide 2015-11-17
Chicagoans among POZ Magazine 100 for 2015 2015-11-16
NUNN ON ONE Linda Gray talks, AIDS activism and playing a trans role 2015-11-10
FDA approves new HIV drug 2015-11-08
AFC softball couple on relationship, work and PrEP awareness 2015-11-08
Positively Aware marks 25 years with MBC event 2015-11-04
Proud to Run 2016 now accepting beneficiary applications 2015-11-04
Clinician talks Haitian roots at Black caucus event 2015-11-03
Northalsted Business Alliance's Ruby Red Relay to benefit AIDS Fdn, Out in Open Sleep Out 2015-10-28
AFC partners with CBGMC, Taskforce 2015-10-27
Positively Aware to mark 25th year 2015-10-21
Ellen Burstyn on working with Personal PAC 2015-10-21
Stars join GLAAD, E. Taylor AIDS Foundation in call for reinvigorated AIDS fight 2015-10-20
National day of action addresses violence against women living with HIV 2015-10-16
Walmart hit with third discrimination suit in five months 2015-10-16
LETTER: Latinos and HIV, breaking the silence and shame 2015-10-14
Oct. 15 is Nat'l Latino AIDS Awareness Day 2015-10-14
HIV, day to day: The truth about consequences 2015-10-14
Upcoming events: Positively Aware event; Mexican HIV/AIDS campaign; Project& 2015-10-14
IMPACT seeks persons for HIV video 2015-10-06
Webinar focuses on Blacks and HIV 2015-10-06
amfAR releases report on HIV programs for drug users 2015-10-06
PrEP forum examines getting more physicians on board 2015-10-04
HRC launches corporate coalition to advance LGBT equality in workplace 2015-10-01
GMHC welcomes W.H.O.'s guidelines on antiretroviral therapy and PrEP 2015-09-30
HIV/AIDS Advocates: PrEP controversy makes job difficult 2015-09-30
Performance artist Karen Finley talks AIDS, pope, Planned Parenthood 2015-09-30
Tammy Baldwin introduces bill to enhance access to HIV/AIDS care 2015-09-29
Lambda launches "Know Your Rights" hub for people living with HIV 2015-09-29
Thousands at Chicago AIDS Run & Walk 2015-09-26
Upcoming: AIDS Run & Walk; Branden James; a-ha; Halloween 2015-09-23
Season of Concern celebrates Biscotto-Miller Fund's 30th 2015-09-23
Dancing for Life 2015-09-23

Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.