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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Daley Pressed on AIDS Budget
Gary Washburn
October 30, 2003
Chicago Tribune (10.30.03) - Thursday, October 30, 2003

Concerned about increasing HIV infections among gay and bisexual men and in minority communities, Chicago officials said Wednesday they will seek a more than 25 percent increase in Mayor Richard Daley's proposed AIDS budget. Daley's city budget of $3.7 million for AIDS prevention and care next year represents a $100,000 increase from 2003. But that funding is down from a high of $3.9 million spent in 1997, said Alderperson Thomas Tunney, who is seeking an amendment pushing for a $1 million increase. Ten City Council members so far have agreed to seek a higher figure, but Daley gave no indication he would budge.

"Half the people who I grew up with in the early 1980s who were gay or bisexual are dead," said Tunney. Now "there is a 'fatigue' about safe sex, condom use. We cannot rest with this disease running rampant through our community, through our city." This year Chicago is receiving $43 million in federal funds to fight HIV/AIDS. The city is waiting to see if a requested $600,000 increase for next year will be granted, said Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. John Wilhelm. The city's finances are so constrained that it appears the $100,000 in increased AIDS funding will represent the only item in the Health Department's spending plan that will grow next year, said Wilhelm.

Overall, new AIDS cases in Chicago have remained relatively stable, at about 1,000 a year. But syphilis cases have been on the rise, signaling unprotected sex and the potential for an increase in HIV infections.