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Rep. Sara Feigenholtz Restores $1.5 Million to Illinois HIV/AIDS Programs

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Uploaded on May 19, 2011

(Springfield, IL) -- May 19, 2011. The Illinois House on Friday, May 13, approved a proposed public health budget for next fiscal year that would restore $1.5 million to HIV/AIDS funding out of a $3.5 million cut proposed by Governor Pat Quinn, but a top House budget lawmaker says the state's AIDS drug program will remain problematic.

"While we restored $1.5 million for HIV/AIDS funding to the Illinois Department of Public Health, I'm not sure that that is going to be enough do the trick," said House Human Services Appropriations Committee Chair Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) who restored the money.

In fact, Feigenholtz warned that funding pressures on the Illinois AIDS Drug Assistance Program might force the creation of a waiting list.

"Because of budget cuts elsewhere in the budget that will push 250 additional people into the AIDS drug program, we could very well go to a waiting list in the state of Illinois," state Feigenholtz.

Jointly funded by the federal and state governments, ADAP provides HIV medications each month to more than 4,200 Illinois residents, medications that can cost $18,000 or more per year. Nationally, nearly 8,000 people in 11 states are on waiting lists.

In February, Quinn proposed reducing state funding for HIV programs by 11% or $3.5 million. The current-year HIV/AIDS budget is $30.88 million.

"We thank Rep. Feigenholtz for recognizing the life-saving and cost-saving benefits of HIV services," said AIDS Foundation of Chicago Vice President of Policy John Peller. "Every HIV infection prevented saves $300,000 in lifetime medical costs."

The Illinois House and Senate must reconcile their versions of the next year's budget before it can be sent to Quinn for his consideration.

The legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 31.

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