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California: New HIV Contracts Set to Start in San Francisco

September 12, 2011

With renewed service contracts for community groups in place as of Sept. 1, San Francisco's new HIV prevention strategy, which places heightened emphasis on testing, as well as linking those infected to care and treatment, is gaining sharper focus. The city aims to cut the number of annual new HIV infections in half by 2017.

The $7.1 million in contracts are renewed "on an annual basis, contingent on funding and performance," said Dr. Grant Colfax, the city's HIV prevention director.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation is receiving nearly half the total, about $3.5 million, including $1.2 million for syringe exchange, which the city has long supported. Partnering with SFAF as subcontractors in the Syringe Access Collaborative are the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center (APIWC), which works with people of API descent; Glide Health Services, which works in the Tenderloin district; Homeless Youth Alliance, which works in Haight Ashbury; and St. James Infirmary, which targets sex workers, said Bob Rybicki, SFAF's vice president for programs and policy.

"Our goal is to basically hand out close to 2.5 million syringes in the city each year," Rybicki said.

Another $871,000 will go to Magnet, SFAF's health center in the historically gay Castro neighborhood. Glide and St. James will each have about $35,000 under this contract "because we want to network into their two communities," said Rybicki. For instance, Glide will visit residents of single-room occupancy hotels, he said. Magnet's goal is to conduct about 8,000 tests annually -- double its current capabilities.

APIWC also was anticipating $455,000 to address HIV disparities among transgender women who have sex with men. This is a new contract for the agency, said Executive Director Lance Toma. Subcontractors include Instituto Familiar de la Raza, Native American AIDS Project, El/La Para TransLatinas.

Still tentative was a $150,000 contract for prevention work with API men who have sex with men. This would enable APIWC to continue some but not all of its previous activities, said Toma, who went public this summer with worries the city would defund the API programming.

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Excerpted from:
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
09.01.2011; Seth Hemmelgarn

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