By Bob Katzen
The House approved and sent to the Senate a bill that expands the use of a fund currently used for AIDS prevention and reduction efforts. The bill would allow the money to also be used on programs for HIV or viral hepatitis prevention and treatment. The funds are from revenue voluntarily paid by taxpayers using a checkoff system on their income tax return and from private sources including gifts, grants and donations.
“The key to reducing the death rate for people reported with HIV/AIDS is ensuring that those already diagnosed remain engaged in care and targeting those at high risk,” said Rep. Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg), the chief sponsor of the measure. “The Department of Public Health is already doing a commendable job combatting this disease … [this] will simply allow for the Department to enhance those services and expand research.”