Schwarzenegger Doesn’t Feel Awful Enough

By Guest Columnist Jun 10, 2009

Leticia Miranda Thousands of HIV/AIDS advocates gathered this afternoon in Sacramento to protest proposed budget cuts by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Despite his symbolic gestures towards HIV/AIDS issues, the governator plans to slash $67.8 million from state HIV programs and an additional $12.3 million from the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, not to mention the money he’s slicing away from education and social services. The cuts to HIV programs would total roughly $80 million. But don’t worry. His Catholic guilt no doubt has him feeling bad. In a state budget address last week he told reporters, “It’s an awful feeling, but we have no choice. Our wallet is empty, our bank is closed and our credit is dried up.” Try explaining that to thousands of "low-income Californians who depend on the state for their HIV drug therapy, medical care, housing and other vital resources,” according to AIDS Project LA, an HIV/AIDS service provider and advocacy group. With the cuts, new infections may not be effectively prevented in “high-risk” communities (i.e. communities of color), people wouldn’t receive the same level of care and access to affordable drug treatments while health officials won’t be as effective in tracking trends in the spread of the disease. This will also make it difficult for AIDS groups to give concrete numbers for funding on the federal level. If only guilt could keep him accountable to international lip service.