Santa Clara County, Calif., Needs Testing, Counseling Network for Groups Disproportionately Affected by HIV/AIDS, Advocate Says
The Santa Clara County Public Health Department should act on "pleas" by county leaders, such as Santa Clara County Supervisor Jim Beall, to establish a full-time HIV testing and counseling network for groups disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, Clark Williams -- interim executive director of the San Jose, Calif.,-based Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center, a not-for-profit agency that provides HIV prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and other high-risk groups -- writes in a San Jose Mercury News opinion piece. He adds that Beall "could not be more right" when he called for "additional funds for a Public Health Department capable of protecting" the "most vulnerable" people in the community. Nearly 80% of all Santa Clara County HIV/AIDS cases are among men who have sex with men and bisexual men, Williams writes, adding that Latinos, homeless and runaway youth and injection drug users also are disproportionately affected by the epidemic and would benefit from the network. He writes, "In urging cost-effective legislative action that will improve the overall health and well-being of all county residents, [Beall] spoke for those whose lives have been impacted by HIV/AIDS" (Williams, San Jose Mercury News, 2/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.