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Consumer input needed for HIV Planning Council

Commentary: EpiCenter

An estimated 18,000 people in San Diego County are currently living with HIV/AIDS. Roughly 83 percent of those infected are men who have sex with men (75 percent) or are men who have sex with men and use injectable drugs (8 percent). Among those living with HIV/AIDS, approximately 40 percent live below the federal poverty level and 49 percent do not have health insurance.

Since the County of San Diego does not operate a hospital, primary health care for those without insurance and without financial resources is provided by a safety net system of community clinics and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The approximately 11 million dollars in funds to operate this safety net of clinics, hospital services and the affiliated medical and support services are provided annually by the federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009. Approximately 80 percent of those dollars or $8 million annually are spent on medical services alone.

Unlike most funding processes or systems, these dollars and the services they fund are distributed using a mechanism specifically intended to provide maximum consumer input, feedback and opportunity to provide direction. Once the amount has been decided by the federal government, the dollars themselves are distributed by the County, with the advice and direction of the San Diego HIV Health Services Planning Council.

This 45-member HIV Planning Council consists of consumers, subject-matter experts and concerned community members. The Council is charged with reviewing all of the available scientific data regarding the local epidemic in order to plan the services and funding allocations for HIV/AIDS services in San Diego County. People living with HIV/AIDS are an integral part of the Council.

In fact, the HIV Planning Council routinely seeks applications from HIV consumers willing to get involved in the process and interested in serving as Council members. All HIV-positive community members are actively encouraged to attend a Planning Council meeting (all meetings are open to the public, the fourth Wednesday of each month, 3-6 p.m.) or a Council committee meeting (all committee meetings are also open to the public).

Individuals interested in becoming Consumer members of the Planning Council only need be HIV-positive and currently receiving at least one Ryan White funded service. Additionally they cannot currently be serving as a paid staff member or a board member of an agency that receives Ryan White funds.

For more information on how to become involved in the HIV Planning Council, contact Jaime Rodriguez at 619-293-4713, or by e-mail at jaime.rodriguez@sdcounty.ca.gov. Additional information is also available on the San Diego HIV Health Services Planning Council website at sdplanning.org.

Want to offer some input but don’t have time or interest in becoming a Planning Council member? There’s a place for you at this table too! Consumers, interested community members, service providers, family members – input welcomed!

Ryan White Services Regional Community Meeting for central San Diego will be held Wednesday, April 20, at 11 a.m. in The Center’s auditorium, 3909 Centre Street.

For more information contact Ken Riley at 619-293-4711 or kenneth.riley@sdcounty.ca.gov or visit sdplanning.com.

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Posted by on Feb 24, 2011. Filed under EpiCenter. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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