05/17/2012 08:19 pm ET

San Francisco AIDS Funding Restored: Ed Lee Promises $6.6 Million To AIDS/HIV Services

Mayor Ed Lee announced plans to restore $6.6 million in cut federal funding for HIV/AIDS care, treatment and prevention in San Francisco on Thursday.

The announcement came just one day after health providers and advocates gathered on the steps of City Hall to protest $7.8 million in federal funding set to expire on June 30.

San Francisco has a long history of HIV/AIDS, and local care, prevention and research has substantially decreased the number of cases and increased the life expectancy and quality of those affected.

"We can't move backwards," said Supervisor David Campos at the rally, according to KTVU. "Every single cent that we're trying to restore is a cent that's going to save lives."

The $6.6 million reflects cuts of $4.3 million from the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act and $2.3 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With the realigned budget, the funds will now be restored.

“San Francisco will continue to maintain investments in HIV/AIDS care, treatment and prevention, which reflect our values to care for our most vulnerable populations and prevent the spread of infection,” said Lee in a release. “Despite continued budget challenges, we remain committed to funding critical care services for those living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco. Our City will continue to be a model for the rest of the nation, and we will continue to work collaboratively with our local community partners to build greater efficiencies in providing services to protect against future destabilizing Federal cuts.”

Supervisor Scott Wiener also attended the announcement with Lee.

"It's a major relief," said Wiener to the San Francisco Chronicle. "It would have been so devastating not to have this money back-filled. I’m grateful that the mayor gets it."

According to the Chronicle, Lee asked healthcare providers to brainstorm alternative funding sources for the 2013-14 fiscal year, and to lobby the federal government for future support.

"We all need to work together to figure out what we need to do into the future," he said.

“We are deeply grateful to the Mayor for his bold decision to use City funds to fully replace Federal HIV/AIDS funding cuts that would have destabilized San Francisco’s nationally recognize system of care and prevention," said San Francisco HIV/AIDS Provider Network (HAPN) President Mike Smith in a statement. "His leadership will help thousands of San Franciscans continue to access HIV/AIDS treatment services and will prevent the further spread of new infections. In this time of decreasing state and federal funding, his action today reaffirms our City’s long-standing commitment to people with HIV/AIDS.”