Some cuts in state spending already have caused extreme hardship for many, including the loss of jobs for thousands. But a proposal to cut funding for the state AIDS Drug Assistance Program could result in worse: loss of lives.
About 2,000 South Carolinians living with HIV/AIDS rely on the program to help them pay for expensive medications that help protect their immune systems and, literally, keep them alive. They all are among the state's low-income, uninsured and underinsured residents.
The current version of the state budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, which starts July 1, eliminates the entire $5.9 million the state now spends for the Drug Assistance Program. The budget also eliminates all money for the state's HIV/AIDS prevention programs.
Without state funding, matching money from the federal government also is likely to dry up.
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