Despite budget challenges and deficits, San Francisco is doubling down on social services to residents living with HIV/AIDS. The Mayor announced last week the city would be backfilling $6.6 million in funding that the federal government had cut.

Mayor Edwin M. Lee joined by Supervisors Scott Wiener, David Campos and Christina Olague, announced a total $6.6 million full budget restoration for HIV/AIDS care, treatment and prevention funding in FY 2012-13 to protect essential services to the City’s most vulnerable despite major Federal funding cuts. Mayor Lee has also committed to cover half of the Federal funding shortfall in his proposed FY 2013-14 budget and met with the HIV/AIDS community and Supervisors today to commit to collaborating in the coming year to identify budget solutions.

“San Francisco will continue to maintain investments in HIV/AIDS care, treatment and prevention, which reflect our values to care for our most vulnerable populations and prevent the spread of infection,” said Mayor Lee. “Despite continued budget challenges, we remain committed to funding critical care services for those living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco. Our City will continue to be a model for the rest of the nation, and we will continue to work collaboratively with our local community partners to build greater efficiencies in providing services to protect against future destabilizing Federal cuts.”

“I’m deeply grateful to Mayor Lee for his understanding of the critical need for this funding and for his swift and decisive action restoring the Federal cuts,” said Supervisor Wiener. “I represent many people living with HIV or at risk for it. This funding will save lives and prevent new infections.”

“We are grateful for Mayor Lee’s leadership on funding critical HIV/AIDS programs and services that will save lives, ensure that basic HIV/AIDS services are provided to the most vulnerable and prevent the spread of the disease in our community,” said Supervisor Campos.

“I thank Mayor Lee for working closely with the Board of Supervisors and community advocates to take bold actions against potentially devastating impacts in our community,” said Supervisor Olague. “Every dollar that we restore is going to save lives and prevent another infection.”

“As Director of Health, I am pleased that the Mayor has taken the extraordinary step of bridging the gap in federal funding for HIV AIDS services,” said San Francisco Director of Health Barbara Garcia. “This will allow us to continue to address the health needs for people living with HIV/AIDS and those who are at risk for HIV/AIDS.”

“We are deeply grateful to the Mayor for his bold decision to use City funds to fully replace Federal HIV/AIDS funding cuts that would have destabilized San Francisco’s nationally recognize system of care and prevention. His leadership will help thousands of San Franciscans continue to access HIV/AIDS treatment services and will prevent the further spread of new infections,” said San Francisco HIV/AIDS Provider Network (HAPN) President Mike Smith. “In this time of decreasing state and federal funding, his action today reaffirms our City’s long-standing commitment to people with HIV/AIDS.”

The $6.6 million in funding restoration in the San Francisco budget reflect a total budget impact from a $4.3 million Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act reduction to HIV/AIDS health services and a $2.3 million Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reduction to HIV/AIDS prevention.

The $4.3 million Ryan White Care Act funding restoration will maintain primary care services and critical support services for San Franciscans living with HIV/AIDS, including hospice, treatment adherence, case management and housing. Maintaining these services is critical because San Francisco’s aging population living with HIV/AIDS is creating more complex conditions due to accelerated aging co-morbidity. In addition, over half the people living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco do not have private health insurance.

The $2.3 million CDC HIV/AIDS prevention funding restoration will maintain local surveillance, research, and prevention and evaluation activities and to build capacity and infrastructure to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. These activities are critically important because CDC estimates that about 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, and that 21 percent of these persons do not know they are infected. In addition, the number of people living with AIDS is increasing, as effective new drug therapies keep HIV-infected persons healthy longer and dramatically reduce the death rate.