Wednesday, January 11, 2012

SF Mayor Lee:
No Paid AIDS Czar Needed

The Bay Area Reporter last week covered Mayor Ed Lee's plan for gay and HIV concerns, as he begins his first year as the elected chief executive of the city, and I was pleased to see this news:

During the campaign Lee said he saw no need to hire an AIDS czar but would appoint someone within his administration to be a point person on HIV issues. He is still deciding who that person will be as he prepares to make several changes to city leadership. "We are going through an internal re-organization, if you will, and will bring in new people," said Lee.

We've been through a few such czars and there was no direct benefit to people with AIDS or significant impact on care or prevention programs. The redundancy of a czar in San Francisco was tolerated when the city was awash with so much federal and local AIDS funding, they could waste dollars on the position.

No other disease, as far as I am aware of, ever had several paid mayoral assistants at City Hall, even though other diseases have bigger or equal impact on the local population. Just another example of AIDS exceptionalism.

Mayor Lee should seek the counsel of the Department of Public Health's director Barbara Garcia or chief of HIV prevention services, who also know a heck of a lot about treatment services, or other DPH experts, and if he wants the advice of two community panels and their co-chairs and members, many of whom are people living with HIV, he can request it from the Ryan White CARE Council and the HIV Prevention Planning Council.

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