Local and Community News
Mayor: New York City Will Retool Its AIDS Policy, Services
March 14, 2003
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Thursday that the city will reorganize how it delivers HIV/AIDS services, a move to create greater accountability by having all agencies report to a single coordinator.Adapted from:
In a speech that surprised AIDS advocates, the mayor also announced that his administration will support a needle exchange program, which his predecessor ignored. Speaking at a national HIV/AIDS conference at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Bloomberg said more than 100,000 New Yorkers are HIV-positive, and half of those have been diagnosed with AIDS. While the city represents less than 3 percent of the country's total population, it has 16 percent of US AIDS cases, he said. "For a city on the cutting edge in countless fields ... this is unacceptable," Bloomberg said. "We can do better, and we will do better."
Under the reorganization, all city agencies will have to report to Frank Oldham Jr., the recently appointed citywide coordinator for AIDS policy, the mayor said. The city uses a variety of public and private agencies to deliver services, including the HIV/AIDS Services Administration, which has 31,000 clients.
Bloomberg said his administration would seek to make the city a national model in delivering services and in meeting CDC's goal of reducing new HIV infections in the United States by 50 percent by 2005, to include continuing the needle exchange program. "These programs have been operating in New York City for over 10 years," he said. "The sky has not fallen. Drug use and drug-related crime have not gone up. In fact, they've gone down."
Terri Smith-Caronia, director of New York City Policy for Housing Works, the largest AIDS housing provider in the state, called the mayor's words encouraging.
Newsday (New York City)
03.14.03; Curtis L. Taylor