Reporting Anna Duckworth
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — San Francisco supervisors joined HIV/AIDS health care providers and advocates on the steps of City Hall Wednesday to call on Mayor Ed Lee to restore funding cut by the federal government.
The city stands to lose $7.8 million in federal HIV/AIDS funding in the fiscal year starting July 1st.
Among the supervisors urging the mayor to act was David Campos, who represents District 9.
“Every single cent that we’re trying to restore is a cent that is going to save lives,” said the supervisor who represents parts of the Mission, Bernal Heights and Portola neighborhoods.
KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:
Supervisor Christine Olague, who represents District 5, said it was the obligation of the “three representatives of the queer community to strand strong behind this.”
The third supervisor was Scott Wiener of District 8 which includes the Castro.
Wiener said they’re working with the mayor whose budget proposal is due June 1st.
“We hope he’ll back them 100 percent. If not we’ll have to do the job when the budget comes through the Board of Supervisors,” Wiener said.
The Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center cares for and treats over 400 HIV positive Tenderloin residents. Lance Toma, the center’s executive director, said nearly $8 million from the Ryan White Care Act and the Centers for Disease Control allowed San Francisco to build an impressive but fragile network.
“It is like a tinker-toy structure. Remove a stick here and remove a spool there and it will crumble. Without this network, HIV will be a death sentence for our most vulnerable residents,” Toma said.
Dr. Joanna Eveland with the Mission Neighborhood Health Center said the loss of $7.8 million would be too great. Eveland said the services they provide simply aren’t supplemental and that scientific studies show they’re every bit as important as the prescriptions patients receive.
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