While more than 200 supporters celebrated AIDS Action Baltimore’s 25th anniversary on March 25, an ominous cloud hovered over the festivities at the Four Seasons Hotel near the Inner Harbor. The Centers for Disease Control has taken prevention funds away from the State of Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Instead of providing resources to the state health department, the CDC has decided to fund hard-hit cities.
“While that may sound good, the Baltimore City Health Department is inexperienced at competing for funding, establishing programs and very bad at accountability,” Lynda Dee, the founder and president of AAB, told the Blade.
“The BCHD is constantly late at paying HIV service providers with Ryan White funds and now with the CDC prevention funds that have been transferred to the city,” Dee said. She also questioned whether the CDC was devoting enough resources to the target population. “Many avenues have to be targeted if we are to prevent continual HIV transmission.”
A loss of CDC funding could threaten AIDS Action Baltimore’s viability.