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This article shared 2129 times since Wed Feb 29, 2012
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WCT AIDS @ 30 series up for GLAAD award

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation ( GLAAD ) has announced the nominees for its 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards.

Windy City Times is up for an award in the newspaper article/series category for its AIDS @ 30 series, which started in April 2011 and continues at least through March 2012.

A complete list of GLAAD Media Awards nominees may be found here: . Additional facts and figures about this year's 151 nominees may be found here: .

Gov. Quinn proposes cuts for Medicaid, HIV programs

Facing a grim fiscal situation, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn proposed a $33.9 billion state spending plan that includes a $4 million funding reduction for HIV programs, according to the AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ) . The governor also proposed deep Medicaid funding cuts, which would severely hamper access to healthcare for people with HIV.

The governor's proposal seeks $25.4 million in FY12 state funding for HIV services through the Illinois Department of Public Health ( IDPH ) , a reduction of 14 percent from the current fiscal year. Budget blueprints indicate Gov. Quinn proposes no funding cuts for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program ( ADAP ) , which provides life-saving medications to people with HIV. As a result, the entire $4 million funding cut would reduce community-based HIV prevention, housing, corrections, minority health-promotion and harm reduction programs.

While AFC lauded Quinn's recommendation for full ADAP funding, it strongly opposed the overall funding cut that will decimate community-based HIV programs.

"We are committed to working with members of the General Assembly and the Quinn Administration to restoring proposed funding cuts," said AFC President/CEO David Ernesto Munar. "AFC urges people affected by HIV and their advocates to register for the April 18 HIV/AIDS Lobby Days in Springfield, so we can send lawmakers a loud, clear message: Proposed funding cuts will cost lives and must be reversed."

The reductions will severely impede Illinois' efforts to reach the goals established by the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which was released by President Obama in 2010. The strategy establishes ambitious targets to reduce new HIV cases, link more people with HIV to medical care and reduce health disparities.

To reduce the HIV funding crisis, AFC urges the General Assembly to lift a moratorium on Medicaid expansion to allow the Cook County Health and Hospitals System to implement an 1115 Medicaid waiver. The program would allow Cook County to receive federal Medicaid matching funding for care provided to uninsured Cook County residents, including people with HIV, without increasing state spending. The waiver, if approved by the federal government, would shift costs for HIV medication from the state to the federal government, yielding savings to Illinois that could be used to strengthen HIV care and prevention efforts.

Unfortunately, Gov. Quinn also proposed over $2 billion in funding cuts to the Medicaid program. Although he left implementation to the General Assembly, Quinn said that eligibility levels, provider payment rates to providers and benefits are all subject to changes.

AFC will fight Medicaid cuts. The program is the foundation of national health care reform, set to begin in 2014, and provides vital health care to low-income people with HIV and other chronic health conditions, including millions of disabled and homeless individuals.

The 2012 Illinois HIV/AIDS Lobby Day is Wednesday, April 18 in Springfield. Now in its twelfth year, Lobby Day will again bring hundreds of AIDS advocates from throughout Illinois to the Capitol.

See .

Rep. Norton warns of HIV epidemic

"We are spreading death among ourselves." Those are the firey words of D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton in Thirteen Percent, a new documentary now in production that investigates HIV and AIDS in the among African-Americans.

"I think the growth in numbers, especially among women, should be a wake-up call among the entire community," the Congresswoman says in her interview, an excerpt of which can be viewed at .

Norton is in her 11th term in the House of Representatives and a member of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus. The nation's capital has the highest infection rate of the country.

Thirteen Percent, which will debut at the XIX International AIDS Conference in D.C. in July, takes a probing look at statistics such as these, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) :

— The rate of new HIV infections among Black men is more than six and a half times as high as that of white men. In particular, among men who have sex with men, one of the highest-risk groups, more new HIV infections occur among young Black men, ages 13—29 than any other age and racial group.

— The estimated rate of new HIV infections for Black women is more than 15 times as high as the rate for white women.

The first financial support for Thirteen Percent came from DC's Riverside Church. Partners include the Balm In Gilead, which educates on HIV through more than 30,000 black churches. The team has launched a crowd funding page on Kickstarter:

This story is part of the Local Reporting Initiative, supported in part by The Chicago Community Trust.

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