ALAMEDA COUNTY: Wants To Declare AIDS State Of Emergency
Alameda County health care officials are calling for a "county- wide public health 'state of emergency'" to deal with the AIDS epidemic among African Americans. If approved by the county supervisors on Thursday, the county-based state of emergency would be the "first of its kind in the country." County Health Officer Dr. Arthur Chen said, "We have a full-blown epidemic that needs to be addressed immediately." The San Francisco Chronicle reports that while blacks make up one-fifth of the county's population, they comprise 40% of AIDS cases. A recent report found there were 61.9 cases of AIDS per 100,000 blacks, while there were only 12.4 case per 100,000 whites. African Americans comprise 40% of all youths diagnosed with AIDS and 69% of pediatric AIDS cases. Local officials hope the designation would allow the county to receive a "portion of the $156 million in emergency federal funds set aside last week by President Clinton to address a national crisis of AIDS in African-American communities" by putting "Alameda County on the federal radar." The Chronicle reports that the bulk of AIDS funding directed to the area has traditionally gone to organizations that serve gay, white men because they have "well-honed grant writing teams" (Hamburg, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.