Target: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn
Goal: Protest a new budget that cuts $3.3 million in HIV/AIDS funding.
The Illinois General Assembly recently enacted the largest cut in HIV funding ever in the state, approving a budget that would cut funds for community-based prevention education, care, and housing programs by 42 percent.
The new budget would result in a funding cut of $3.3 million. The original budget proposed by Governor Quinn in February cut funds by $4 million, but the House Human Services Appropriations Committee recently fought to restore $623,000.
The AIDS Foundation of Chicago predicts that more than 100 individuals will be infected with HIV in the coming year as a result. “The average cost of HIV treatment is $14,000 to $20,000 a year,” says Dr. Michael Kolber, MD, the director of the Comprehensive AIDS Program and Adult HIV Services at the University of Miami. The lifetime medical costs for just the 100 people expected to contract HIV this year will exceed $400 million, a devastating blow for those individuals as well as Illinois taxpayers. Programs like the Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Collaborative, which helps prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child, are still trying to determine how the cuts will affect their services’ future.
While modern HIV medication can maintain one’s health for up to 50 years, treatment is incredibly expensive and the cost is often out of reach for those in need. Research suggests that only around 50 percent of low-income people with HIV are receiving necessary medication because of the costs. And according to the Illinois Department of Health, the new budget puts 563 people with HIV at risk of losing access to food, medical care, and mental health treatment.
The facts show that while there are great resources for people with HIV/AIDS in Illinois, we need to do more, and slashing funds won’t get us any closer. Sign the petition to tell Governor Quinn that Illinois needs these crucial funds, and that future budgets should prioritize public health and vital HIV/AIDS prevention program funding.
Dear Governor Quinn,
There have been over 30,000 reported cases of AIDS in Illinois since 1981, making it the state with the seventh highest number of AIDS cases in the U.S. Slashing funds for HIV prevention programs, care, and housing will lead to new cases of HIV and will have a crushing impact on those already infected.
According to the Illinois Department of Health, the new budget puts 563 people currently living with HIV at risk of losing access to food, medical care, and mental health treatment. In addition, the loss of prevention programming could lead to an estimated 100 new cases in the coming year.
While there are many great programs for HIV/AIDS in Illinois, we need adequate funding to maintain and expand these initiatives. Please consider revising this budget and create future budgets that reflect the need for HIV program funding in Illinois.
[Your Name Here]