San Francisco Office of AIDS To Be Dismantled, Functions Distributed Throughout City’s Health Department
San Francisco's Office of AIDS is being dismantled and its functions will be distributed throughout the city's Department of Public Health to address a reduction in federal funds and the "ever-changing nature" of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The office is responsible for about $65 million in AIDS programs, many of them funded by federal grants, the Chronicle reports. According to Jimmy Loyce, director of the AIDS Office, although catastrophic cuts in funding from the Ryan White Program -- which provides funding for HIV/AIDS programs in the U.S. -- have been averted, the city expects to lose $1.5 million from built-in reductions in each of the next three years. Loyce said that the restructuring of the office is the final step in a process that has been going on for several years. The fiscal duties of the office last year were integrated into the health department's financial branch. According to the Chronicle, the main reason for folding the Office of AIDS into the rest of the health department is that HIV-positive people are living longer and face the same kinds of chronic health problems as other aging populations, which are not necessarily uniquely HIV/AIDS-related illnesses. San Francisco AIDS Foundation Executive Director Mark Cloutier said the integration of the Office of AIDS into the rest of the health department makes sense, adding, "It's important that people get care for other chronic diseases at the same place they get HIV care." The integration also will present an opportunity for Mayor Gavin Newsom and the city's public health director Mitch Katz to come up with a more efficient method of delivering care to HIV-positive people who have other medical problems, Cloutier said. In related news, Loyce earlier this week announced that he will step down from his position as director on May 1 and that no one will be named to replace him. According to Loyce, the health department will not lay off any of the office's remaining 169 employees (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.