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World AIDS Day: How To Follow HIV/AIDS Money Close To Home

World AIDS Day: How To Follow HIV/AIDS Money Close To Home

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As World AIDS Day

world aids day, hiv/aids, adap, reporting on health

approaches this Thursday, you can go beyond the typical event story (please!) to explore what's happening to money for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention in your community and state.

The stakes are high, and they're personal: Although new HIV infections are on the decline, new Centers for Disease Control data show that one in four infected Americans don't have their virus under control with medications, either because they're not taking their medications or because they don't know they're infected.

Here are some tips and resources for your reporting.

1. Know your funding sources. Money for HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and social services comes from federal, state and local levels, as well as private charities.

This detail from California's state budget spells out the different pots of money and how they changed over the past three budget years; you can ask your state's health department for a similar budget breakout.

This chart from the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors details appropriations for federal HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted disease programs, including the already-approved 2011 federal budget and the draft 2012 House appropriations bill. You'll want to focus on Ryan White and ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program) appropriations.

2. Check in locally. Ask local HIV/AIDS service providers for their analysis of how recession-driven budget cuts at local, state or federal levels are affecting their work. They follow the money very closely. Are budgets only shrinking, or are there areas where they're expanding? Here's a searchable database to find organizations in your area.

3. Document waiting lists. ADAP waiting lists for financial assistance with expensive HIV/AIDS medications are growing. Are there waiting lists for services or medicine in your community, how big are they and who's on them? How are uninsured or poor patients getting their medications in the meantime? Here's a list of state ADAP directors who can give you the latest information.

More Resources from ReportingonHealth and Elsewhere:

Jon Cohen's Tips for Reporting on HIV/AIDS

Online Resource Guide: HIV/AIDS: Progress, but No Cure

National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors

Funding for The HIV and AIDS Epidemic

World AIDS Day

Photo credit: tedeytan via Flickr



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