AUSTIN, Texas–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 11, 2002–
When: Saturday, Oct. 19, 2002
Time: 4-7 p.m.
Where: Texas State Capitol Building (south steps)
On Sept. 6, the Texas Department of Health (TDH) issued its funding decisions for HIV/AIDS prevention for the next five years.
“In these decisions, TDH chose not to provide funding for programs focused on Latinas/os across the State, failed to provide funding for White communities and neglected significant portions of African-American communities, instead funding only a few programs focused on narrowly defined fragmented sections of our communities in a flagrant misapplication of HIV/AIDS statistics,” said Martha Duffer, executive director of ALLGO.
Texas ranks fourth among all other states, with 57,199 cases of AIDS documented as of December 2001 and 2,981 new cases reported in 2001 alone. These decisions will have a devastating impact on the entire state.
“AIDS is preventable. But we must have additional funding for effective HIV/AIDS prevention for more of our fellow Texans,” said State Representative Glen Maxey.
This is a time of crisis:
— In 2001, there were more than 4,000 new HIV cases reported, a small fraction of the HIV prevalence rate given the number of people without information or access to testing, who remain unaware of their status.
— The State AIDS medication program for people living with HIV/AIDS (ADAP) will be short $34,000,000 in funding, leaving HIV-positive Texans to be placed on waiting lists to obtain HIV medications.
The best solution to this crisis is to:
— Allocate additional funds for HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in the state of Texas to address the inexcusable exclusion of Latinas/os, young gay men of all ethnicities, heterosexual African-American men and injection drug users of all ethnicities. (Of the $10 million dollars that were distributed, $9 million came from federal funds through the CDC and $1 million came from state funds — an amount that has not increased in over 10 years.)
— Approve the additional $34,000,000 in funding for the State AIDS drug assistance program.
“Treatment IS prevention in the AIDS epidemic. We must provide access to HIV treatment medications by funding the State ADAP,” stated Senator Gonzalo Barrientos.
Not addressing this issue will result in:
— Significant human suffering for those living and dying with HIV/AIDS and of their loved ones
— Higher costs for the State of Texas over the years due to:
— Lost productivity of increased numbers of Texans living with HIV/AIDS
— The expense of needed treatment, medical services and medications
— Lost lives to this frequently fatal disease
— People going untested and unaware of their HIV status, thus increasing rates of infection and resulting in poor health conditions by the time testing takes place
— Lack of sufficient medications, reducing the already limited health options available for people living with HIV/AIDS.
— Community organizations being forced to face the possibility of closing down, causing the community to lose the benefit of their broad range of services and resulting in the waste of over 15 years of developed skills and expertise.
Join thousands of fellow Texans for the Rally for Our Lives: Advocating for HIV/AIDS Prevention for our Communities on Oct. 19 and AIDS Walk Austin 2002 on Oct. 20. Demand that the State of Texas investigate the process for distribution of available HIV/AIDS prevention dollars, and that the State take responsibility and invest in the health of our communities by increasing HIV/AIDS prevention funding and increasing funding for HIV/AIDS medication assistance!
Community AIDS service organizations and partnering local service providers from El Paso, Houston, Dallas, McAllen, Corpus Christi and Austin are making plans to rally together in support of this cause.
About AIDS Services of Austin (http://www.asaustin.org)
AIDS Services of Austin responds to the HIV needs of the Austin area by providing services that enhance the health and well-being of individuals and the community in the face of an evolving epidemic. AIDS Services of Austin is a leading provider of prevention and social services for those affected by HIV and AIDS in Central Texas.
AIDS Walk Austin 2002
AIDS Walk Austin promotes awareness of the continued impact of HIV and AIDS on our community. The annual Walk is an opportunity for Central Texans to come together to show our commitment to support those living with HIV/AIDS. For more AIDS Walk Austin 2002 information, check out www.AIDSWalkAustin.org, or call 512/452-WALK.
About ALLGO (www.allgo.org)
Founded in 1985, The Austin Latino/Latina Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Organization, ALLGO, is committed to progressive community organizing, advocacy for social change & the preservation of queer Latina/o cultural & art. Our efforts are rooted in the belief that critical consciousness along with self- and community-empowerment are essential to our survival and well-being.
AIDS Services of Austin, Austin
Jennifer Herrera, 512/406-6165
Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, 512/472-2001