Planet Princeton

Christie Announces $19 Million in Funding for HIV/AIDS Programs

Gov. Christie talks with Hyacinth client Connell Gavin after announcing $19 million in state funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and care Tuesday. Photo: Tim Larsen/Governor’s Office.

Governor Chris Christie and state Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd announced $19.5 million in state funding today for nonprofits and government agencies to support HIV and AIDS prevention, care and treatment programs.

Just over $11 million is earmarked for HIV counseling, testing and education. Another $8.3 million is for medical care and social services, including housing. More than 36,000 people in the state are living with HIV, and nearly 7,000 residents with HIV/AIDS receive medications through the state Health Deparmnet’s AIDS drug distribution program.

The announcement was made at the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation in New Brunswick,  which is receiving $2.1 million.  The following seven Mercer County area nonprofits will receive a combined total of about $2 million:

HomeFront -$106,976
Henry J. Austin Health Center – 112,468
Lifeties –  $138,500
New Horizon Treatment Services – $361,736
New Jersey Association on Correction – $396,737
New Jersey Human Development Corp.  $555,777
New Jersey Women and AIDS Network –  $256,489

Christie, who met with staff at clients at Hyacinth before holding a press conference, compared support services for people with HIV to his push for drug rehabilitation programs.

“Every life is precious, everyone deserves a second chance, and no one is beyond salvation. The folks I met here shining example of that,” he said.

“An organization like this one provides a vital home to people who have been dealt  a devastating blow,” Christie said. “The stigma attached to HIV diagnosis it’ll  exists in our society. We have a long way to go. It’s part of what prevents people from getting tested in the first place. HIV, like drug addiction, is treatable, preventable, and it’s a disease.”

Christie joked during the press conference about a Hyacinth client telling him he gave him a warm and fuzzy feeling.

“That’s not something I hear often,” Christie said.

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Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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