Hard times for the Whitman-Walker Clinic
Not long for this world
One of the city’s oldest HIV/AIDS clinics, the original Whitman-Walker Clinic was vacated yesterday for more modest accommodations down the street. Worse yet, the move was accompanied by tens of layoffs. According to the Washington Blade, that’s a sign of the financial times.
Earlier this month, I raved about Whitman-Walker, but the financial side of the Clinic’s–and the city’s–efforts against HIV/AIDS just didn’t fit in the column. Now seems an appropriate time to write up my reportorial spillover.
According to Chip Louis, communications director for Whitman-Walker, Whitman-Walker and most D.C. area clinics get the bulk of their funding from the Ryan White CARE Act. Like a lot of good programs, however, the Ryan White program saw its federal funding freeze over the past eight years. Like a lot of good program, however, President-elect Barack Obama has promised to increase funding for the Ryan White CARE Act over the next four years.
“There were no real increases in federal funding, and that is a problem,” James Sykes, the Director of Global Programs Policy for The AIDS Institute, said.
“More people are living with HIV/AIDS now than ever before, which translates into increased medication costs for cities. People are also steadily becoming infected. President-elect Obama when he was campaigning made a promise to increase that funding. I definitely think it’s on his radar. Unfortunately, we have to continue to make do with what is given to us. We can only hope that that funding comes through.”
Yesterday, The Washington Post ran an emotional piece chronicling the Clinic’s history.