Planned Parenthood's Morris County location in Morristown will receive over $150,000 in state funding, as part of a $19.5 million package the governor announced at a press conference in New Brunswick Tuesday.
Chris Christie and Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd held a press conference Oct. 23 at the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, which is receiving the largest amount of funding, over $2.1 million. In total, the package will benefit 54 HIV/AIDS treatment organizations in New Jersey.
According to a press release from the governor's office, $11.2 million will be used specifically for HIV counseling, testing and education, while the other $8.3 million is slated for medical care and social services.
O'Dowd said the funding follows an additional $8 million in federal funding that was made available earlier this year to New Jersey for AIDS and HIV treatment.
More than 36,000 New Jersey residents liver with HIV/AIDS, O'Dowd said.
Of those people living with HIV/AIDS, 7,000 of those low-income residents receive medications through a state drug distribution program, she said.
During the press conference, Christie stressed that progress in treatment and support of people living with HIV/AIDS has turned it from a death sentence to a "chronic disease."
However, the stigma of an HIV/AIDS diagnosis still persists, which deters people from being tested, he said.
"It only becomes that (a chronic disease) if you're treating it," he said.
140 HIV/AIDS testing centers exist in New Jersey, Christie said.
Christie said the decision to make the money available is "in concert" with other public health initiatives of his administration, including treatment instead of jail time for first-time non-violent drug offenders, a $3.5 million increase in funding for cancer screenings and a $1 billion influx of funding for hospitals throughout the state.