Colorado is seeing more people diagnosed with HIV at the same time that funding streams are drying up.
The Colorado Sun reports that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment forecasts 455 people to be found HIV-positive by the end of this year, an increase from last year’s 409.
The problem is so acute that the Tri-County Health Department — which serves serves Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties — issued an advisory this summer announcing a “disproportionate number of cases in females, people who inject drugs (PWID) and people living in the Denver metro area.”
TCHD found that 33% of new HIV cases were among Latino residents and 13% among black residents. The increase in diagnosis among women increased by 67% from 2018, although men make up the vast majority of new HIV cases.
Even amid the increase, The Sun found that the state has cut funding to HIV clinics in three ways. First, Colorado has had to return federal grant money intended to help people living with HIV and AIDS because of a failure to spend it within the required time frame — amounting to $7.9 million forfeited.
Second, the state Attorney General’s Office told CDPHE that it could not use supplemental rebates from drug companies toward prevention. Finally, a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is ending.
CDPHE is exploring whether the guidance against using money for prevention is valid, considering that lawmakers wrote the federal legislation before Truvada, a daily HIV-prevention pill, hit the market.