San Diego HIV/AIDS organizations to lose more than $1 M in critical HIV funding
Local groups band together for 20th Annual AIDS Walk, San Diego’s largest one-day HIV/AIDS fundraiser
Published Thursday, 17-Sep-2009 in issue 1134
San Diego area HIV/AIDS organizations are beginning to absorb the painful realities of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s line item veto of funding to the State Office of AIDS and the funding reductions in the new California budget.
The devastating funding cuts, totaling nearly $83 million, will adversely impact some of the areas most important programs and services. These cuts make AIDS Walk San Diego even more important in this, its 20th year. More than two dozen local agencies receive funding from the Walk.
“It has become clear that San Diego County will likely lose more than $1 million dollars in funding for HIV viral load testing, HIV testing and counseling, early intervention programs and prevention programs,” said Delores A. Jacobs, chief executive officer of The San Diego LGBT Community Center. “These programs are essential to combating HIV on the individual and community level.”
“As we try to find funding to cover viral load testing, HIV testing and counseling, there will be shortfalls in many other kinds of HIV/AIDS service programs. While we continue to work to analyze the budget cuts, I hope everyone will join us for AIDS Walk San Diego,” Jacobs said. “It is a concrete way to help many of the agencies that directly serve people living with HIV in our area.”
“We are still trying to understand the impact these budget cuts will have on San Diego’s HIV/AIDS programs,” said Rosana Scolari, director of CASA South Bay, a program of the San Ysidro Health Center that receives financial support from AIDS Walk. “What we do know is that they will cripple many of the services that we have built to help those most distressed by this disease.
“We cannot emphasize enough how important it is for people to support this year’s AIDS Walk,” Scolari said. “Not only do all the agencies involved in the event really need the funding support, this is also an opportunity to show our community that we deeply care for those impacted by HIV/AIDS in our area.”
“This loss in funding is a huge setback in our local fight against this disease. We have lost precious prevention dollars, as well as funding for the care of those most in need,” said John de Miranda, chief executive officer of Stepping Stone, which receives funding from AIDS Walk. “Unless we pull together now to muster all the resources we can to overcome these losses, I believe we will see the impacts of these in truly dire ways. I encourage all San Diegans to join us for AIDS Walk this year.”
“More than 25 local San Diego agencies depend on AIDS Walk and the HIV Funding Collaborative funds to provide vital services to San Diegans living with HIV/AIDS, and this year those funds are more needed than ever,” said Robert Lewis, director of HIV Services for Family Health Centers of San Diego, which is one of AIDS Walk’s beneficiary organizations. “Every 9? minutes, someone new is infected with HIV. Clearly the HIV/AIDS epidemic is not over and this year every dollar matters more than ever. We invite people to walk, volunteer, create fundraising teams or donate to a walker or a team today. We hope their leadership and commitment will inspire even more San Diegans to help.”
ALL THE DETAILS
AIDS Walk San Diego is San Diego’s largest one-day HIV/AIDS fundraiser and the biggest non-governmental financial provider for HIV/AIDS services in San Diego County. Dozens of agencies – serving thousands of clients – rely on funds raised at the annual AIDS Walk to help provide essential prevention and care programs to thousands of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS.
Established as AIDS Walk San Diego in 1989, this event took place for two years prior as the Walk for Life. Through a unique funding partnership with the San Diego HIV Funding Collaborative, AIDS Walk San Diego is able to increase the impact of the dollars raised at the event. Funds from the Walk are combined with donations from other philanthropists and foundations to qualify for matching funds. Since 1989, AIDS Walk San Diego has raised more than $7.5 million. In partnership with the San Diego HIV Funding Collaborative, more than $550,000 was distributed to 26 community-based HIV/AIDS service organizations in San Diego County.
Registration and volunteer opportunities are available at www.AIDSWalkSD.org. Last year, more than 8,000 people walked, helping to generate more than $550,000 to 26 San Diego area HIV/AIDS service organizations.
AIDS Walk San Diego is a program of The San Diego LGBT Community Center. For more information, contact Donnie Luehring, AIDS Walk event manager, at 619-291-WALK (9255) or at dluehring@AIDSWalkSD.org.