Springfield, Mass., City Hall Meeting Addresses Increasing AIDS Cases
Springfield, Mass., city officials and residents on Thursday decided at a City Hall meeting that "multiple strategies must be considered" in response to a recent semiannual CDC federal surveillance report that placed the metropolitan area 11th in the nation for its rate of newly reported AIDS cases. The Springfield Union-News reports that the meeting, sponsored by the City Council Public Health and Safety Committee, was the "first formal council discussion about AIDS" since a proposal for a needle exchange program was defeated by the council over two years ago. The City Health Department said there were 62 newly diagnosed AIDS cases in Springfield in 1999, up from 49 cases in 1998. Meeting participants called for more AIDS awareness education and drug treatment, in addition to the continued use of a mobile outreach program providing educational materials, needle bleach kits, condoms and treatment referrals to drug addicts, to reduce the new case rate. City Director of Health Helen Caulton-Harris said that the city had inadequate funding and treatment beds for drug users, adding that she will invite drug agencies and people with AIDS to a future meeting to coordinate service efforts (Goonan, Springfield Union-News, 1/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.