$70 million unspent and rejected endangered Floridians
Investigative reporting released today by The Guardian revealed that Senator Rick Scott rejected $70 million in critically needed federal funds to address HIV in Florida while he was Governor. After years of decline, Florida’s number of HIV diagnoses reversed course and increased during the time that then-Governor Scott’s administration actively refused federal funds for HIV prevention and blocked grant funding for local governments to take action.
“This is outrageous and irresponsible. This reporting indicates that Senator Scott purposefully worked against public health, directly endangering Floridians and keeping Florida among the highest states for HIV transmissions in the nation,” said Equality Florida HIV Advocacy Project Director Alejandro Acosta. “We cannot afford silence when it comes to HIV. Florida should be using every tool at its disposal to combat its HIV epidemic, both through the state budget and state policy.”
These revelations come as the Trump Administration has proposed its “Ending the HIV Epidemic” plan, which aims for a reduction of new transmissions by 90% in 10 years. The hotspots of transmissions are mostly in the South, and Florida has 7 of the 48 identified counties with the newest cases in the country.
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.