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NY Doesn't Give AIDS Funds to Minority Groups: Study


NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York State only gives minority-run community service groups about 30 percent of its funds for treatment, prevention and education programs, but over 76 percent of all people with AIDS are minorities, an advocacy group said on Tuesday.

Michael Kink, a spokesman for Housing Works, Inc., said it was important for people who need treatment and prevention programs to get services from the people who can best speak to them.

"This is about local, community people working with people who have AIDS," Kink told Reuters.

He did not rule out suing the state if what he saw as a funding problem was not resolved.

The state in the fiscal year 2000 spent around $100 million for these types of programs, he said. Housing Works is an advocacy group for homeless New Yorkers who have AIDS or HIV.

Kristine Smith, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health, disagreed sharply with the Housing Work's conclusions, saying: "HIV/AIDS funds go where the epidemic is and that is in large part in minority communities. The allegations from Housing Works are disingenuous." She added: "They would not say the organizations that are currently providing services do not do a good job."

The community groups that get AIDS/HIV funding from the state must prove they will deliver the services in the various languages that are needed and "appropriately address cultural issues," she said.

Kink said a legislative solution was preferable to a lawsuit. "We'll look to Albany for the answer to this problem. If the Legislature and the governor cannot act, then certainly litigation is one of the options down-the-road."

Most community service groups the state provides AIDS/HIV funds to meet two out of three of the federal standards that define them as minority-run, Smith said.

Those guidelines require the community group's governing board to draw at least half of its members from minorities, include a significant number of minorities in key positions, and have an established record of service to the minority community, Smith said.

More than 56,000 people in New York State had AIDS as of June 2000, Kink said, adding some 43,482 lived in New York City. "We estimate several hundred thousand are living with HIV" throughout the state, he added.


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Information in this article was accurate in January 24, 2001. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.