Maryland County Council Considers Commission To Target HIV/AIDS
Anne Arundel, Md., Council member Daryl Jones has introduced legislation that would create a county HIV/AIDS commission to focus on outreach and look for ways to prevent the spread of the disease, the Baltimore Examiner reports. The council will vote on the legislation on Jan. 5, 2009.
The county's black community has been particularly affected by HIV/AIDS. Two-thirds of the county's 957 HIV/AIDS cases in 2006 were among blacks; nearly half of new HIV infections are among blacks, and two-thirds of all new AIDS cases are among blacks.
Jacqueline Allsup, president of the Anne Arundel chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said, "We are quite concerned about the impact of AIDS in this county, and we would like the commission to take a look at what services are being provided to the people."
Baltimore has a commission similar to the one Jones is proposing. The commission has helped improve communication between Baltimore and HIV/AIDS groups, as well as helped the city with tracking HIV/AIDS, according to William Blattner, chair of the commission and associate director of the University of Maryland's Institute for Human Virology.
Doug Heart, director of the county health department, said the department is reviewing the proposed legislation (Flanagan, Baltimore Examiner, 12/21).