Local and Community News
San Francisco AIDS Rate Soars
April 25, 2002
During his annual State of the City Public Health address on Monday, San Francisco Department of Public Health Director Mitchell Katz said the rate of AIDS infection in the city has shot up to a level not seen since HIV first came on the scene more than 20 years ago.
"The place we are in now is perhaps the most disturbing we've been in in 20 years," Katz said. He attributed the increase to the growing perception among those at risk that AIDS is no longer a death sentence. "If you got AIDS, you were going to die. That was true in the '80s and early '90s. It's not true now. The removal of that fear has seen HIV rates, syphilis rates and gonorrhea rates return to pre-AIDS levels," Katz said.
In addition, Katz said, the cost of health care increased by nearly 25 percent last year, and some people who need treatment are going without as a result. "I am proud to say we are still able to offer indigent, uninsured patients top-quality medical care, but our waits for this care are growing long and longer. Our resources are insufficient to meet the demand in a timely way."
As a result, Katz said, San Francisco must develop less costly alternatives to hospitalization, such as creating housing for homeless persons that includes on-site access to mental health treatment, substance abuse counseling and medical services. "Our one opportunity to lower costs is where we can do prevention or early intervention so someone does not need treatment in a hospital," Katz said.
San Francisco Examiner
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.