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State Budget Includes Critical Funding to Address the STD Crisis
July 1, 2022 – Last evening, Governor Newsom signed a massive $300 billion budget that includes $38 million to support funding requests from APLA Health and the statewide End the Epidemics coalition, including:
- $30 million to address skyrocketing rates of syphilis and congenital syphilis – the largest EVER state investment in STD prevention.
- $8 million to make progress toward hepatitis B elimination – the first EVER state investment in community-based services to address hepatitis B.
“The additional funding included in this year’s budget will bring even more desperately needed resources to LA County and other parts of the state that bear a disproportionate burden of the STD crisis,” said APLA Health Chief Executive Officer Craig E. Thompson. “This could not be more important for the LGBTQ+ community, as gay and bisexual men continue to account for the majority of new syphilis cases. We are tremendously grateful to Assemblymember Evan Low and the Legislative LGBTQ+ Caucus for championing these urgent requests.”
The budget also includes a number of other noteworthy investments, including expansion of Medi-Cal to all eligible Californians regardless of immigration status, over $200 million to help California continue to lead in protecting reproductive rights, and additional financial assistance for low-income and vulnerable Californians.
But it’s not all good news.
Despite calls from advocates, the final budget does not include ANY new funding to support lifesaving harm reduction services for people struggling with substance use. Harm reduction programs are on the front lines providing some of the most vulnerable and underserved members of our communities with the knowledge and tools they need to stay safe, including navigation to substance use treatment.
“We are extremely concerned that the final budget lacks adequate resources to address the state’s growing overdose crisis, particularly in communities of color,” continued Thompson. “We call on Governor Newsom and the Legislature to take immediate action to ensure that harm reduction programs are not left to fend for themselves as overdose deaths continue to skyrocket.”
You can learn more about the final budget here.
ABOUT APLA HEALTH: APLA Health’s mission is to achieve healthcare equity and promote well-being for the LGBTQ+ and other underserved communities and people living with and affected by HIV. We remain committed to ending the AIDS epidemic in our lifetime. We are a nonprofit, federally qualified health center serving more than 18,000 people annually. We provide 20 different services at 16 locations throughout Los Angeles County, including: medical, dental, behavioral health and HIV specialty care; PrEP counseling and management; health education and HIV prevention; and STD screening and treatment. For people living with HIV, we offer housing support; benefits counseling; home healthcare; and the Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries; among several other critically needed services. Additionally, we are leaders in advocating for policy and legislation that positively impacts the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities and conducting community-based research on issues affecting the communities we serve. Its signature fundraising event, AIDS Walk Los Angeles, has drawn hundreds of thousands of supporters to walk, and millions more to donate, raising more than $91 million to combat HIV and AIDS since 1985. For more information on APLA Health visit https://aplahealth.org.