California: HIV/AIDS Crisis Still a State of Emergency in Alameda County
February 4, 2009
More than 10 years after Alameda County declared HIV/AIDS a state of emergency, officials there say the situation now more closely resembles a state of complacency. "There's a perception that the crisis is over, which is definitely not the case," said Kabir Hypolite, acting director of the Alameda County Office of AIDS Administration.
Local leaders are concerned that ongoing efforts to slow the epidemic will stall as the state grapples with a budget crisis and the country faces an economic downturn. Hypolite said the county has already lost $800,000 in state funding for HIV prevention efforts, about half of its budget.
Despite a loss in state and federal funding, Hypolite said the community must do more to turn things around. Black churches in particular must play a greater role in HIV/AIDS outreach efforts, he said.
Charley Hames, pastor of Beebe Memorial Cathedral, said he has received that message. His church has chosen to be proactive in preventing HIV/AIDS by participating in free testing events and educating congregants about the disease. "It's not condoning any behavior," said Hames. "It's just saying, ?We love you enough to say take care of yourself.'"
Contra Costa Times
02.03.2009; Shauntel Lowe
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.