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2005-12-07-California County's 'Inadequate' Resources To Battle HIV/AIDS In Black Community
The Oakland Tribune on Thursday examined the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Alameda County, Calif., and the "inadequate prevention, education and service funding" the county has to fight HIV/AIDS in the black community, which is disproportionately affected by the disease.
In 1998, the county was the first in the U.S. to declare a state of emergency because of HIV/AIDS in its black community in hopes that it would receive additional state and federal funding to combat the epidemic; however, county officials' "plan hasn't worked as intended," the Tribune reports.
Members of the Alameda County African-American State of Emergency Task Force said the county's "blanket approach" to funding does not take into account populations more affected by the disease than others. According to the Tribune, the AIDS case rate among blacks decreased from 59.4 per 100,000 people in 1998 to 39.3 last year.
The AIDS case rate among whites decreased from 13.1 per 100,000 people in 1998 to 5.4 last year, and among Latinos the rate fell from 12.5 in 1998 to 6.5 in 2004. According to county data, 25% of AIDS cases in the county occur among women and 66% of HIV-positive women are black.
County Supervisor Keith Carson said the "fractured" response to services is because different groups are battling over funding. According to Arnold Perkins, director of the Alameda County Public Health Department, the department receives nearly $10 million annually from state, county and federal government for HIV/AIDS prevention services.
"But that's still not enough," Perkins said, adding, "We have 70 different programs we have to fund at the public health department and the county only gives us [a total of] $14 million." Carson said a town hall meeting is scheduled for some time in the next few months to address funding issues. "If everybody comes together, we can figure out how to leverage resources and dollars and organizations around addressing issues of HIV and AIDS," Carson said (Dunlap/Maitre, Oakland Tribune, 12/3).