Care for the Homeless Observes World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day has been observed across the world on December 1st each year starting in 1988 (making this the 25th observance). Care for the Homeless and our clients have been actively participating in it for almost as long.
On World AIDS Day we unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It’s a fight Care for the Homeless has fought for years. Our clinicians perform HIV testing. Our clients provide peer support and education. Our providers treat it and counsel those infected. Our clinics and health educators dispense information and education. We advocate for policies to assist in the fight.
World AIDS Day is also a time to remember those we’ve lost to this terrible disease. Worldwide over 25 million have been lost to AIDS. In 2013, Care for the Homeless lost two wonderful members of our client leadership boards.
New York City has over 110,000 HIV cases. Modern Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy is effective in treating most people. But the prescription regimen costs more than $15,000 annually, on average. With early detection and aggressive treatment many HIV patients live full lives and eventually die of some other disease or condition.
People living with HIV need permanent housing and high-quality ongoing medical treatment. We must provide affordable housing for people with HIV.
But this year housing programs administered through the city HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) changed rent formulas. HIV patients in HASA housing were under a 30% rent cap, meaning rent wouldn’t exceed 30% of their gross household income.
This year the 30% cap was removed. At Care for the Homeless we have clients now facing eviction from HASA housing because of the change. One client’s rent increased from just under $300 (30% of his income) to over $500, well over 50% of income. He’s being evicted and sent back to a city homeless shelter. That’s an inhumane and terrible outcome for him, but it’s also bad for the HASA housing project he resides in and costs taxpayers over four times the amount they were paying in housing subsidy.
On World AIDS Day we recommit to fighting this disease and to better policies to manage it and assist those living with it. Every 9 minutes someone in America is infected with HIV. There are 220,000 Americans infected who don’t know it. AIDS is the 3rd leading cause of death among New Yorkers 35-to-54 years old.
But we agree with President Barack Obama when he said: “We Can Beat this Disease!”