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California: Closure of San Francisco's Queer Asian and Pacific Islander Programs Averted

August 22, 2011

San Francisco's HIV Prevention Section will continue to support two programs targeting LGBT Asian and Pacific Islanders, health officials announced at an Aug. 1 community forum. The API Wellness Center (AWC) had expected both its LGBT youth "Aqua 25" program and the "Ramen" program for at-risk men would be cut under new changes in city HIV prevention funding, effective Sept. 1.

"It looks like we will be able to fund" some programs for API men who have sex with men, said Dr. Grant Colfax, the city's HIV prevention director. Nearly 100 people attended the forum, held at the LGBT Community Center, to discuss the Department of Public Health's HIV prevention strategy. Beginning Sept. 1, efforts will center on improving serostatus awareness and linking people with HIV to treatment and care, focusing on MSM, especially black and Latino MSM; injection drug users; and transgender women.

"We are looking at trying to figure out how to continue some programs," said Lance Toma, AWC's executive director. "There are no details yet."

Nearly $7 million in city prevention contracts are set to be in place by next month. The lack of API-specific funds drew some of the most vocal criticism.

"I am deeply alarmed that the city of San Francisco, where one-third of residents are API, has no clear plan for the API community," said Athila Lambino, a health educator and AWC client.

Participants stressed that HIV agencies must offer culturally competent services for people of color and varied gender identities, and they underscored the importance of connecting with the homeless, undocumented immigrants, single-occupancy hotel residents, and seniors.

"I had grave concerns at first but I think we can make it work," said Kyriell Noon, executive director of Stop AIDS Project. "The reality of the situation is there is not as much money available. We are all being asked to do more with less."

Steven Tierney, Health Commission president, said his major concern is HIV testing without guaranteed health care access.

Back to other news for August 2011

Adapted from:
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
08.18.2011; Matthew S. Bajko

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More HIV Prevention Policy News on California

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