A 14 million dollar grant is helping Mississippi fight the spread of HIV and AIDS. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how the funds will provide vital treatment for some living with the disease in the state.

" /> Mississippi Receives $14 Million to Fight HIV/AIDS | News | Mississippi Public Broadcasting
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Mississippi Receives $14 Million to Fight HIV/AIDS

By Daniel Cherry | Published 19 Apr 2012 05:59pm | comments

A 14 million dollar grant is helping Mississippi fight the spread of HIV and AIDS. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how the funds will provide vital treatment for some living with the disease in the state.

About half of all Mississippians living with HIV or AIDS don't receive treatment. Dr. Nicholas Mosca is the HIV/STD coordinator for the state Department of Health.

"It's imperative that those individuals get treatment otherwise they're able to spread their disease to others in our state. This isn't just about providing healthcare to an individual. This is about true prevention of the spread of an epidemic."

For many in Mississippi, HIV treatment isn't accessible or affordable. The 14 million dollars given to the state by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will target those people. But the catch is, the grant is a 2 to 1 match, meaning the legislature has to appropriate 7 million dollars in order to receive the full 14 million. Herb Friarson, House Appropriations Committee Chairman expects both chambers to put up the money.

"We have the money in the House version, and I believe it's in the Senate version of the Health Department budget. That's one of those that you don't want to miss out on. Especially with something as important as that is."

Those fighting HIV hope legislators hold up their end of the deal. Robin Webb, Executive Director of a Brave New Day, an anti-HIV advocacy group, recently told MPB News, he's optimistic lawmakers will allocate the funds.

"We're really happy with the fact that this is not a partisan issue, it's a public health issue. It's also a business-minded issue. We're saving dollars. All of it simply just makes sense."

With just about two weeks remaining in the legislative session, advocates will know soon if full funding will be available for the fight against HIV in Mississippi. 

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