The Dallas Morning News reports today that the Texas HIV Medication Program, which supplies life-saving medication to people with HIV/AIDS who can’t afford it, will run out of money in the next two years.
You see, thanks to our fiscally conservative GOP leadership of the last decade, the state is facing a massive budget shortfall — of up to $21 billion — and state agencies are being asked to cut their budgets by 10 percent. But in order to sustain the HIV medication program, which helps about 13,700 people a year, the state will need to increase its contribution by about 50 percent — or more than $10 million.
According to Democratic State Rep. Garnet Coleman of Houston, a longtime LGBT ally, the chances aren’t good that our current leaders would be willing to fund the program as needed. Here’s what Coleman told The DMN:
“If [Rick] Perry’s still governor and there’s essentially the same team, then it could be very hard, especially if they’re emboldened by election results, instead of following what is humane for people,” Coleman said.
One of the obvious reasons behind Coleman’s concerns, which isn’t mentioned in the story, is that Perry and many other Republicans still view HIV/AIDS as a gay issue, and they believe homosexuality is immoral. Perry has himself said that if gays aren’t happy about the way they’re treated in Texas, they should move to another state. And after all, it’s right there in the state GOP platform: “We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases.”