By Alina Oswald
Alina Oswald is a freelance writer/photographer and author living in the NYC area.
Money doesn’t bring happiness. Money, alone, cannot solve the world’s AIDS crisis. Money is not the sole solution to a life-and-death kind of problem that AIDS still is. Yet, without money, without the appropriate funds, all the AIDS service organizations, all the non-profits serving the AIDS community, will be forced to close their doors leaving many of those living with the virus and depending on their help, in limbo.
With the recent budget cuts overtaking pretty much every aspect of our lives, this kind is scenario becomes more of a reality than just a hypothesis. Conform the National Minority AIDS Council, for the last five months the federal government has operated on the continuing resolution that kept this year’s budgets at last year’s levels. Therefore, for the same five months, agencies have planned their budgets on the assumptions that this year’s budget would be approximately the same with the previous year’s one. Yet, the House Appropriation Committee had planned on even deeper cuts for agencies which are critical to people living with HIV/AIDS. The proposed cuts include:
$1.3 billion dollars from Community Health Centers
$1.57 billion dollars from the National Institute of Health
$923 million from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention
$327 million from Family Planning
$280 million from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
These “draconian cuts,” as the National Minority AIDS Council’s website calls the massive cuts, leave agencies with only seven months to react. That means that the agencies will feel a double effect of the cuts, having only half of the time (half a year) to react. We can only wonder what will happen if they run out of time. We can only wonder what will be next.
The AIDS economics are tough to start with. Add to that the current overall economic situation and you have some kind of Perfect Storm…
**For more from Alina Oswald, visit UNCONVENTIONAL – her blog about unconventional, inconvenient and sometimes taboo topics that populate human reality and imagination.