Local HIV/AIDS Agencies Fight for Life as State, Federal Aid Falls
Federal and state assistance to Sonoma County’s anti-AIDS efforts has fallen by at least $1.7 million. “I don’t think it’s catastrophic, and yet it’s a huge impact,” said Linda Albertson, former chair of the county’s Commission on AIDS. State funds for the county and independent care providers dropped from $2 million in fiscal year 2008 to $1.3 million last fiscal year. The county has seen its funding for prevention and testing fall from $586,000 in 2005 to $180,000 this year. The 2010 closure of Santa Rosa’s county-run HIV Clinic displaced 604 patients, and the Face to Face Sonoma County AIDS Network has lost $500,000 and laid off eight employees. Sunburst Projects, which assists families and children affected by HIV, closed its office in the county. Food for Thought, the county’s only food bank for HIV/AIDS patients, has seen its client base expand to 650, even as it has lost $140,000 in annual funding. “It’s really put a lot of pressure on us,” said Executive Director Ron Karp, who added that the food agency now relies on private donations, food and cash drives, and reserve funds.
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