CHCIO: City Council Spars Over AIDS Organization Funding
The Chico City Council last week voted to continue funding for the Northern California AIDS Foundation, despite an attempt by two of its members to cut the funding "because some of the money would go to condom distribution," the Chico Enterprise- Record reports. Upon examining the group's activities for a funding renewal, council member Dan Herbert moved to reduce its grant by $2,000, as he found a "substantial amount" of the grant would be used for "education-based issues" that would include condom distribution. Council member Rick Keene, who joined Herbert, said he initially thought the group "provided help to people infected with AIDS, which he had no objection to. But he later 'found out it was actually more of an education promotion group,'" the Enterprise-Record reports. Arguing that city funds should go to more "critical needs," Keene said, "The question here is where does the line get crossed from AIDS education to AIDS advocacy." He also said condoms have a "40% failure rate" and objected to "the whole implied advocacy for the lifestyle which goes along with it." Their motion to cut the funding, however, failed 5-2. Council member Coleen Jarvis said, "If somebody seeks out the AIDS foundation for condoms then they probably need them. They are not encouraging anyone to have unsafe sex." Katie Brust, an educator for the foundation, said condoms are "99.9% effective when used correctly every time." She added that only $300 of its request would be used for condoms. Brust said, "What happens when people reject things like that -- there's some sort of fear about it." She added that council members must "still be under the opinion that [HIV] is a gay disease. Now that's one of the lowest risk groups. People have a hard time believing that it's our kids that are being affected," she said (MacEachern, 6/4).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.