Organizations that help with STD testing and treatment will get even more money thanks to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors who approved a motion to allocate emergency reserve funds to them.
Mark Ridley-Thomas and Shelia Kuehl introduced the motion that
provides $5 million to public health programs and an additional $1
million in grant money for people with substance abuse disorders for
the next two years.
allocation is still wanting to be approved by the Health Department,
and until it is, the Center could continue its current service levels
with threatened programs as of the result of the dispute the
organization has with Los Angeles County regarding the funding for
Center’s STD program cost it $1.5 million last year, which came
from the reserve fund and various sources such as the LA County
contracts. This contract has given the Center as consistent, but flat
funding to the organization. Due to the rising demand for testing and
treatment, the money from these contracts is running low.
The Center asked for an increase in funding from the County, which turned down the request. This surprised Darrel Cummings, the chief of staff at the Center. He said the organization had to use money from other programs such as youth housing services and senior meal services to pay for the costs.
Cummings said every service provided is affected by the redirection of funds.
Board’s move to introduce emergency funding comes as the Center was
getting ready to announce it was cutting its free STD testing and
treatment, as announced in Cummings’ internal email.
motion, which was authored by the LA County Supervisor Shelia Kuehl,
was approved to ensure its reserves would help various community
providers to continue offering services that would slow the rising
number of STD cases in the area. The move comes at a time when
federal, state and local governments have not provided enough funding
for STD prevention.
County has been particularly hit hard by the rising in STD rates,
especially has budgets have tightened. The Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention said from 2016 to 2017, there was a rise in
gonorrhea cases in gay men. The latest information shows that were
more than 5,300 cases of syphilis, over 16,650 cases of gonorrhea and
30 cases of congenital syphilis between January and August of this
the LA County Board of Supervisors had not introduced the emergency
motion, the Centers would be forced to follow the funding limits as
noted by the current contracts. According to Cummings, this means
slashing STD testing and treatment by 50 percent or about 8,000
people undiagnosed with gonorrhea, which would only add to the
Cummings said it’s imperative public health officials focus harder on finding money for testing and treatment programs the Center and other agencies offer to the community including the LGBT community.
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