As the Maine Legislature comes together to review Gov. LePage’s proposed budget cuts, people living with HIV/AIDS are having their lives put on the line. How? Because medical case management services for people affected by HIV/AIDS are on the proverbial chopping block. We who work in the field of HIV/AIDS know full well what the tragic consequences of these cuts will bring.

Without case management, services for people with HIV/AIDS across the state will be decimated. This will translate into sicker clients and more expensive treatment. Perhaps even more devastating, HIV infections will undoubtedly rise. Make no mistake — without targeted medical case management, the HIV epidemic will continue unabated. HIV treatment reduces transmission rates, by as much as 96 percent. And preventing just one infection saves hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical care over the course of the disease. Medical case management has proven to save lives, help clients adhere to complex medical treatment and connect them to life-saving HIV medications. It is the reason that people living with HIV/AIDS across Maine are able to live full, healthy lives and contribute to their communities. It is also the very reason Maine remains a low-incidence state when it comes to rate of infection.

Every day, throughout the state, our case managers provide a drastically lower cost alternative to ER visits, lapsed medical care and untreated HIV in our communities. The massive strides made in the epidemic are held up on the foundation that case managers provide.

The governor’s proposed budget cuts threaten to turn back the clock on the many years of progress we have made in the HIV epidemic. We certainly hope the Maine Legislature doesn’t choose to do the same.

Jennifer Putnam is the chairwoman of the State of Maine HIV Advisory Committee.