Los Angeles Times Profiles Ventura County, Calif., Program Aimed at Newly Diagnosed HIV Patients
The Los Angeles Times on Sunday examined a Ventura County, Calif., program aimed at obtaining treatment for newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS patients as "confidentially as possible and as gently and quickly" as possible. Many of the patients speak only Spanish and have families who are unaware of their illness, according to the Times. The program, called "Bridge Program for Ventura County," is coordinated by the state Office of AIDS Early Intervention Section and CDC. According to the Times, the program stems from a policy shift at CDC, which calls for an increased emphasis on treating people living with HIV/AIDS instead of "general prevention programs." Diana Goulet, coordinator of the county's HIV/AIDS services, said, "The epidemic is 20 years old now. Initially we tried to educate the public on how to keep themselves safe. That hasn't worked as well as we'd have liked." Lynn Bartosh, head of HIV/AIDS surveillance for the county's Public Health Department, said that 925 county residents had been diagnosed with AIDS by the end of 2003 and 145 HIV cases were reported in 2002, according to the Times. In addition, Goulet said that statistics indicate that although the proportion of AIDS cases among Latinos in the county remained constant for years at 33% of cases overall, the proportion among Latinos started to increase in 2003, the Times reports. Goulet added, "What's more important is that the people who are infected get treatment to reduce the possibility that they will transmit the virus to someone else" (Barnes, Los Angeles Times, 2/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.