San Francisco Supervisors Approve Budget, Restore Cuts to Health Care Services, HIV/AIDS Programs
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved the largest budget in the city's history, restoring some cuts to health care-related programs included in Mayor Gavin Newsom's (D) original $5.3 billion spending and revenue plan, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Gordon, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/20).
According to the San Francisco Examiner, "last-minute" budget negotiations restored:
- An additional $1 million in funding for AIDS-related projects;
- $11 million for capital-improvement projects, including the construction of a new skilled nursing facility for San Francisco General Hospital; and
- $500,000 to maintain the workers' compensation clinic (Stanley, San Francisco Examiner, 7/20).
Tuesday's vote was the first of two required to approve the city's budget. The board will take a final vote next week (Gordon, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/19).
In related news, San Francisco health officials might reduce their estimates of the city's annual HIV infection rates based on three recent analyses that suggest the spread of the spread of the virus within the city's gay community has slowed, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
A CDC study released last month examined HIV among gay men in San Francisco, Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Baltimore. The study found that new infections in San Francisco were occurring at about half the rate recorded in 2001.
Based on a sample of 365 gay men tested in the city, researchers found that men were becoming infected at a rate of 1.2% annually, a decrease from San Francisco epidemiologists' previous estimates of 2.2%.
The CDC results prompted the Office of AIDS of the San Francisco Department of Public Health to examine data collected by the city's Stop AIDS Project and surveys of infection rates at city clinics. Both sets of numbers indicated a downward trend in the number of new HIV cases.
Based on the findings, city officials are expected to convene within a month a panel of experts to consider reducing San Francisco's official estimate of yearly HIV infections (Russell/Lelchuk, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/20).