Fresno HIV/AIDS Patients Protest

June 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
HIV/AIDS patients are predicting death while the governor proposes new ways to solve the state's budget crisis. Protestors gathered in Downtown Fresno saying the governor's proposals will kill hundreds of HIV/AIDS patients. A table full of medication keeps Tim and Cindy White alive. Tim contracted HIV in the 90s and passed the virus to his wife. Tim said, "Tattooing, sharing a needle with a friend. That's what caused that to happen."

The Whites say all their medications cost more than $10,000 a month. They rely on state assistance to pay for it. But Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to eliminate $80-million dollars of funding to HIV-AIDS programs all over the state. Cindy says that cut could end her treatment and would cut her life short. Cindy said, "I have three kids. I have three grand kids. I'm not ready to die from somebody who has the right to pull my plug and tell me when it's time to die." Tim said, "Without this medication, I'm going to end up in the hospital and dying sooner than I have to."

Protesters gathered on Monday in Downtown Fresno outside the state building. Fresno County receives more than $1.2 million to fund local prevention and treatment programs.

David Luchini with the Fresno County Health Department said, "You want to provide education to prevent the spread of HIV ? The treatment is important because it's providing assistance with medication that have been very effective in keeping people just HIV positive and not progressive to AIDS."

Later this week, Cindy and Tim plan to join other protesters by taking their pleas to Sacramento.

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