California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a revised budget in the amount of $85 million after "additional cuts to child welfare programs, health care for the poor and AIDS prevention efforts."
Rex Wockner says the Governator "decimated" AIDS services. He explains:
"Although the cuts curtailed state funding for HIV-related education (an
80% cut), prevention (80% cut), counseling (70% cut), testing (70%),
primary medical care (50%), home care (50%) and housing (20%), one cut
stood out in particular: the termination of all funding for the Office
of AIDS' Therapeutic Monitoring Program. For some 35,000
working- and middle-class Californians whose HIV care is paid for by
the state, that program pays for viral-load testing and drug-resistance
testing. Viral-load testing is mandatory in HIV care, as it is
the only way to determine if a particular HIV drug cocktail is working
in a given patient. Drug-resistance testing comes into play when a drug
cocktail that had been working stops working in a given patient. The
two types of testing together guide a doctor in getting a patient on a
new drug cocktail so the patient's viral load again becomes
undetectable. Patients whose viral load is undetectable are very
unlikely to develop deadly HIV-related opportunistic infections, and
they are dramatically less infectious than those whose virus is not
More from Wockner here.
Said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation:"The governor's heartless act is not only deadly, but guaranteed to cost California taxpayers millions more in the future."