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State cuts HIV prevention services

Category: HIV

HIV testing in the state of Massachusetts may soon become more difficult to access, as state officials are warning that steep budget cuts will likely affect HIV prevention programs in the upcoming year.

Representatives of Governor Deval Patrick's office told the Boston Globe that HIV and AIDS prevention program are facing a $4.3 million cut, which is one-quarter of the state's budget. These initiatives have played an important role in driving down rates of new infections by 50 percent during the previous decade.

A number of individual programs are facing cuts or elimination. Initiatives to distribute condoms and needle exchange programs are going to be scaled back while an effort to send counselors into high-risk communities to talk about the importance of HIV testing will be eliminated.

"Well-trained staff in the field, good information, as well as direct services for HIV-negative and positive people, together, have given us the success this past decade," Kevin Cranston, director of the state Bureau of Infectious Disease, told the news source. "I would hate to see a resurgence of HIV in Massachusetts after being so successful this decade."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that HIV testing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the infection.

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