Recent cut guts only women-specific education and support AIDS program in Washington State
A recent decision by the WA State Department of Health to eliminate all funding to the only women-specific support program for HIV-positive women in Washington State may be part of a larger national trend to defund women-centered services, say advocates. This decision, combined with a 2010 funding cut from County, will result in a 75% program budget cut to BABES Network-YWCA, the only women-specific education and support AIDS organization in Washington State.
“BABES serves 400 women and affected family members every year,” says Pat Migliore, an HIV-positive Seattle resident and BABES co-founder. “This will have a huge consequence for the health of women we are desperately seeking to keep in care.”
The Department of Health says it will use the resources to hold 20 spaces for women in the state-administered AIDS Drugs Assistance Program (ADAP), if an ADAP waiting list is put in place. But these services are not interchangeable, say advocates.
Nationally, severe racial, gender, and economic disparities persist in the HIV epidemic. The majority of women testing positive for HIV are Black and Latina. Over 64% of women living with HIV earn less than $10,000 a year, compared with 41% of HIV-positive men. And data continues to show that women suffer worse health outcomes from HIV than do men.
President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy, released in July 2010, emphasized the importance of improving access to care and health outcomes for people living with HIV. Providers say this goal cannot be accomplished for women without psychosocial support services.
How YOU can help:
- JOIN us TODAY from 2-7pm at the YWCA in Downtown Seattle for a health fair with different HIV, womens, youth and health organizations sharing their information. HIV testing, blood pressure testing, lipid panels and non-fasting glucose testing will be available. We will have food, raffle prizes and activities. The educational panel will start at 6pm with two HIV Providers, Pat Hogan ARNP, Michele Peake-Andrasik PhD, and three HIV positive women will be sharing their stories and answering questions from the community. All are encouraged to attend! Bring your female friends and family!!
- MAKE A FINANCIAL GIFT so that newly diagnosed women will have a place to go for peer support and education. A donation of any size helps BABES continue to provide critical services that help women move forward in their diagnosis. With the loss of federal funding sources, the future of programs like BABES rests on the generosity and compassion of our local communities. There’s no time like today to start giving or renew your support.
- Help us continue this STATEWIDE NETWORK of support for women living with HIV/AIDS. If you are a member, exchange phone numbers or email addresses with other BABES members whom you meet at events so you can stay connected. Have you ever considered learning how to facilitate a support group? We will be training more members to become volunteer peer facilitators in the coming months.
- Join ADVOCATES FOR HOPE to gain public speaking skills and knowledge around HIV/AIDS policies and funding. These trainings may also help you become a volunteer peer mentor and/or HOPE Project speaker.
- WRITE your senator and legislators and DOH staff about fully funding Ryan White Part D and providing more federal assistance for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).
- STAY INFORMED. Sign up for some mailing lists including BABES Network, AIDS Alliance for Children Youth and Families, U.S. Positive Women’s Network.
Hope to see you tonight!!! For more informaton about BABES Network-YWCA, visit www.babesnetwork.org.