Advocacy Alert - BUDGET CUTS

BUDGET CUTS TO AIDS SERVICES AND SYRINGE EXCHANGE
The Governor’s budget contains two critical cuts related to HIV/AIDS services in the Department of Public Health’s budget. There is a proposed cut of $85,000 to the AIDS Services line, which primarily funds STATE prevention efforts. CT’s prevention efforts have helped to hold NEW HIV INFECTIONS to approximately 300/year. We’ve already had to weather a significant loss of federal funds for prevention and can’t lose ground in CT.

SYRINGE EXCHANGE PROGRAMS (SEPs)
The Governor made a 5% rescission to the state’s already poorly funded, yet vital, syringe exchange programs, at a time when we’ve 1.) experienced a THIRTY PERCENT REDUCTION IN NEW HIV INFECTIONS among injecting drug users over the past decade; and 2.) SEPs are now launching a Naloxone distribution program to reverse opioid overdose deaths. CT experienced over 2,000 opioid involved overdose deaths over the past FIVE YEARS. The SEPs play perhaps the most vital role in reaching people most at risk of overdose and in need of Naloxone.

DPH BUDGET HEARING – FRIDAY, 3/6, 4:30 PM, Room 2 C Legislative Office Building (LOB)
The budget hearing to address these issues is THIS FRIDAY EVENING. These hearings are held in the evenings to accommodate working people, and those with school aged children who cannot take time off during the day.

PLEASE CONSIDER TESTIFYING if your organization gets SEP or DPH Prevention funds.
The budget is abysmal this year, and we will be one squeaky wheel competing with our friends for funding. Legislators will be taking note of who IS there to testify, and, perhaps more poignantly, who is NOT there.

Testimony is limited to three minutes (approximately 1 ½ pages single space) and can be submitted via email (PDF or Word) to APPtestimony@cga.ct.gov NOT LATER THAN 2 PM on FRIDAY, MARCH 6th.

CLICK HERE for a TEMPLATE for TESTIMONY

SIGN UP FOR THE HEARING IS BY LOTTERY
I can pick numbers for you if you’re planning on coming up to testify and can contact you with your “number” when the post the list prior to the hearing. There is a separate list for people with special needs, so if you or your clients need to be on this list, LET ME KNOW ASAP.

IMMEDIATE RESPONSE NEEDED
This budget hearing is but one piece in a complex set of events that goes into finalizing the state’s budget. Contact with YOUR LEGISLATORS who cover your agency is CRITICAL.To find those legislators CLICK HERE.

URGE them to restore AIDS SERVICE and SYRINGE EXCHANGE FUNDING. Tell them SPECIFICALLY what that means for YOUR PROGRAM and YOUR CLIENTS.

THE MESSAGES
AIDS SERVICES - This primarily funds STATE prevention efforts. CT’s prevention efforts have helped to hold NEW HIV INFECTIONS to approximately 300/year. We’ve already had to weather significant loss of federal funds for prevention and can’t lose ground in CT.

SYRINGE EXCHANGE - 1.) CT has seen a THIRTY PERCENT REDUCTION IN NEW HIV INFECTIONS among injecting drug users over the past decade; and 2.) SEPs are now launching a Naloxone distribution program to reverse opioid overdose deaths. CT experienced over 2,000 opioid involved overdose deaths over the past FIVE YEARS. The SEPs play perhaps the most vital role in reaching people at risk of overdose and in need of Naloxone.

SHARE WITH STAFF, CLIENTS and your BOARDS!
Get others involved. Even if someone can’t be in Hartford for the hearing, ANYONE CAN SUBMIT WRITTEN TESTIMONY!!

CONTACT ME (Shawn M. Lang, slang@aids-ct.org, 860-247-2437 x319)

  1. If you plan on testifying in person so that I can pick a number for you (apologies ahead of time if it’s not a low number!!).  Make sure I have your cell # so I can let you know where you are on the list.  Bring an iPad/book, snacks, chargers as these hearings can last a while.
  2. CC me via email if you plan on submitting WRITTEN TESTIMONY and CANNOT TESTIFY IN PERSON.
  3. If you have questions about any of this.

Thank you for all you do, all the time!!

 

AIDS LIFE Campaign

About the AIDS LIFE Campaign (ALC)

The AIDS LIFE (Legislative Initiative and Funding Effort) Campaign - a program of AIDS Connecticut - is Connecticut's only statewide group that focuses solely on all of the policy-related issues impacting people living with and at high risk for HIV/AIDS - from prevention and education, including needle exchange; to supportive services; to health care, such as Medicaid and CADAP; to housing.

In addition to our advocacy work at the legislature, members of the AIDS LIFE Campaign convene meetings with key state departments such as the Department of Public Health and the Department of Social Services to work with them on a whole host of issues ranging from contracts and timely payments, CADAP, Medicaid changes (e.g. prescription and provider visit co-pays), as well as federal issues such as the HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS) housing program, Ryan White funds, and other pertinent topics that arise.

ALC Chair: Shawn M. Lang