City of Houston Directs $100,000 From General Fund To Fight HIV/AIDS Among African Americans
"Alarmed" by the high rate of new HIV infections among Houston's African-American population, city officials on Friday for the first time designated $100,000 from the city's general fund to fight the disease, the Houston Chronicle reports. Officials said that there has been a "slight" decrease in the percentage of all new AIDS cases that involve African Americans, from 61% to 58%. Glenda Gardner, a bureau chief with the city's health department, said that the city has allocated the money from its general fund to a program established by Mayor Lee Brown, who in 1999 declared a state of emergency in the city's black community due to high HIV/AIDS rates. The program organizes events for youth such as a late-night basketball camp with celebrities who talk about sexual behavior. Since 2000, the program has been funded through a $300,000 annual CDC grant. Former City Council member Jew Don Boney said, "There's politics around AIDS, primarily with funding. ... We are refining the way for the city of Houston to go about doing this. It is impossible to evaluate your campaign based on ... the rate of infection." He added, "In order to stop this epidemic, you have to change the sexual practices of individuals, and that's a personal matter." Brown said, "We know education works, but it has to be easily accessible. This is not an effort for one segment of our population, but it's an issue that affects every Houstonian" (Mack, Houston Chronicle, 9/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.