Emerson Miller knew HIV/AIDS funding would take a hit in Gov. Deval Patrick’s proposed budget on Wednesday but he wasn’t expecting $2 million. The HIV-positive program manager for AIDS Action of Massachusetts said his health wouldn’t suffer but some of his friends will.

“You stop taking meds because you can’t afford it and then the infection spreads,” he said.

While the decreased funding is part of the largest proposed cuts in 20 years, AIDS activists say their hit is especially nearsighted.

“We’ve saved millions of dollars over the last 10 years in potential health care costs that we’ve avoided because of great infrastructure,” Miller said. “We’re going to lose millions of dollars in short order.”

In some respects the 59 percent reduction in new infections from 1998 to 2008 has hurt the state’s HIV/AIDS funding, despite a 42 percent increase in the number of people living with HIV during the same span.

“You ... do a great job and they say ‘OK, Alabama needs the money now you don’t need the money,’” Miller said. “In some ways it’s kind of punitive.”