Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 49 / 7 December 2017
 

Time set for HIV prevention funding meeting; complaints continue

The community meeting on HIV prevention funding will run from 6 to 9 p.m., Monday, August 1 at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street.

The time had not previously been announced. Organizers are asking people to RSVP beforehand on Facebook.

Providers and public health department officials plan to meet with community members to discuss the drastic changes expected in funding when agencies’ new contracts begin September 1.

Many have been upset by the increased emphasis on testing over health education and risk reduction.

Health department officials have repeatedly stressed the need to cut new HIV infections in the city, explaining that the status quo won’t work.

At a meeting in June, San Francisco HIV Prevention Director Dr. Grant Colfax (pictured at left) said, “Unless we change what we do, we are not going to eliminate new infections because we are in an endemic.”

But providers and others have complained that the shift doesn’t adequately address the prevention needs of young people, women, and others.

In an email blast today, Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center Executive Director Lance Toma said his agency has been negotiating with the health department since March to address claims that prevention officials are ignoring Asians and Pacific Islanders.

“SFDPH continues to assure us that the needs of A&PIs will be met, but we have seen no evidence to support this,” Toma said. “It’s been four months and we have yet to see a concrete plan for reaching A&PIs. A&PIs are affected by HIV, and we need to be included, just like other high-risk communities in the city.”

The wellness center is currently in talks with the health department, Mayor Ed Lee’s office, city supervisors, and the LGBT Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Commission, Toma said. They will present their concerns to the Human Rights Commission on August 11.

In another email blast today, Stop AIDS Project Executive Director Kyriell Noon told community members, “Services that you may have come to count on could be either strengthened, diminished, or eliminated entirely.

“At Stop AIDS, our programming will be changing as well, with an increased focus on testing and linking HIV positive men with care services,” he said. “We will continue to do some of our community building work; however, many of the services we provided will no longer be offered.”

Stop AIDS, probably most popular for the mobile testing RV it runs with the UCSF AIDS Health Project, has also offered programming not directly related to testing. Those services include the Scene, groups for gay, bi, and trans men in their 20s to mid-30s. That program has ended.

Noon said people attending the August 1 meeting would be learning about the city’s new HIV prevention system, hearing from agencies about which services will be available after September 1, and providing their input on how their needs can be met.

In his message, Noon also announced that Tony Koester, program coordinator for the Stop AIDS progam Positive Force, is leaving. Koester said in a message that his partner has accepted a job in Seattle and they’re going to move.

Koester said he’s “leaving with a mixed bag of emotions.” He’s been involved with the agency “in some form or another since 1995,” and the recent years as program coordinator “have been amazing, inspiring, and fulfilling.”

Positive Force is a program by and for HIV-positive gay, bi and transgender men. The aim has been to build community for the thousands of men in SF living with HIV.

From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, August 4, the Positive Force and Positive Health Program will host a meeting in room Q11 at the LGBT center to discuss their new direction. Contact Justin Jones at jjones@stopaids.org for more information or to RSVP.

In an email to the Bay Area Reporter, Noon said “Positive Force will remain part of our programming for the foreseeable future.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 22, 2011 @ 1:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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