Activists lobby for more HIV/AIDS funding

BOSTON (WWLP) – Activists lobbied lawmakers for more funding for HIV/AIDS on Monday. Supporters want an additional $4 million in next year’s state budget for better screening, counseling and treatment services for those living with HIV/AIDS.

More than 22,000 people are infected with HIV/AIDS in Massachusetts. While the number of new infections is decreasing, people with the disease are living longer, stressing the need for more resources.

Supporters are pushing for $36 million for the Fiscal 2015 budget. They say it will provide better access to HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C prevention, testing, and treatment services.

“There’s not enough services in western Mass., so we really need an increase of funding to not only continue the work that we do, but increase services to decrease the rates of HIV and Hepatitis C,” said Liz Whynott of Tapestry Health

State funding has been cut by $20-million over the past ten years. Prevention and testing clinics are currently small and scattered throughout the state. Supporters believe the additional $4 million will provide better access to care in western Massachusetts.

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