San Francisco Plans Reorganization of HIV/AIDS Network
San Francisco this year will reorganize its network of services for HIV-positive residents in part because of a $4 million decline in funding in fiscal year 2004 from the federal Ryan White CARE Act and decreased private donations, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The reorganization will be the network's "biggest overhaul since it was assembled" in the 1980s, according to the Chronicle.
In addition, voters in November 2004 rejected propositions J and K, tax increases Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) said were necessary to maintain these and other city services.
The city is planning to "streamline" the network -- composed of dozens of small groups offering services ranging from HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment to nutrition, legal advice, housing, hospice care and counseling -- by directing federal grants to new "Centers of Excellence" that will facilitate "one-stop shopping" for AIDS services, the Chronicle reports. City health officials plan to locate the centers in the Tenderloin and Bayview neighborhoods. At the centers, HIV-positive people with substance abuse problems could enroll in Medi-Cal, locate drug treatment programs and receive housing assistance from a variety of agencies.
Mike Smith, executive director of the AIDS Emergency Fund and president of the HIV/AIDS Providers Network, said, "It feels very much like a slow death," adding, "The system is withering."
James Loyce, director of AIDS programs for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said, "This is an opportunity to rethink what we are doing, across the spectrum" (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/10).