NEW YORK — In the wake of a change in leadership, staff and supporters of New York’s Gay Men’s Health Crisis are discussing where the agency should turn its attention, the New York Times reports.
Last year, the organization operated at a six-figure loss and government money is increasingly difficult to get, the article said. David Fazio, the chief financial officer, told the Times that despite running a deficit, the group’s financial situation remained strong. It has a current annual budget of $26.7 million, and the AIDS Walk next year is expected to raise $5.4 million.
Myron Sulzberger Rolfe, the chair of the board of directors, said the group had helped thousands of clients directly, and tens of thousands of others through its programs and outreach efforts.
ACT UP’s Peter Staley called many organizations around the country dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS, including Gay Men’s Health Crisis, “AIDS Inc.,” arguing that they have become stale and timid, content to take government money and not challenge the status quo.
“For those of us who never left the crisis mentality and think that is our best posture, to see these large bloated bureaucracies rich with large government grants and the still stubbornly high rates of infection in this country, it is frustrating,” he told the Times.
From 2001 to 2011, the number of new HIV diagnoses in New York City declined by 40 percent. In 2001, there were 5,841 diagnoses. In 2011, there were 3,404, according to the city’s health department.
Staley said that while progress had certainly been made, the annual number of new infections was unacceptable in a city with the kinds of health and education resources that New York has, the Times article noted.