Monday, April 07, 2008

SF HIV Dental Clinic Closing,
New Bar Heralds Gay Revival

The odd things about this announcement from the University of the Pacific Dental School is that the closure is the first I'm hearing that the advanced general dentistry clinic was in jeopardy of shuttering. In the past few years as local hospitals, clinics and direct care nonprofit agencies have faced budgetary constraints and potential closure, they've all told the affected patient communities that bad news loomed in the near future. Public meetings to rally patients and politicians were held, and an effort was made to save whatever clinic or services were threatened. Not so for the dental school and this clinic, where I'm a patient, as are hundreds of other people with AIDS.

I think the university owes all patients of the clinic a full explanation about the fiscal troubles they/we are facing, and why no one is organizing to save the clinic.

From the university's site:

When is the AGD Clinic closing?
The AGD Clinic will stop treating complex cases and will no longer have general dentistry residents in San Francisco after June 30, 2008.

Why is the clinic closing?

Increasing cost in clinic operations and decreased reimbursement rates from government programs have created an unsustainable operation for the school. [...]

Can I be a patient of the Main (student) Clinic?

If you were once a patient of the Main Clinic and transferred to the AGD Clinic, the reason for your transfer was due to the complexity of your dental, medical, or psychological care. You are no longer eligible to be a patient of the Main Clinic as the dental students will not be able to manage/maintain your complex care needs. Please call your local dental society for referrals. [...]

I am a Ryan White AIDS CARE Act patient. Can I be seen in the CARE Clinic?

The CARE Clinic is staffed by only one dentist who is here part time. There are currently no openings for new patients in the CARE Clinic, and the CARE Clinic does not maintain a waiting list. Please call the Native American Health Center at (415) 621-8056 or the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. [...]
In other news from San Francisco today, the SF Chronicle covers the opening weekend of a new leather bar South of Market, and how it heralds a new era, one that revives the S/M leather bar scene.
Forty years ago there were no live-work lofts South of Market, no restaurants dotting Folsom Street, and the Whole Foods Market at Harrison and Fourth streets was home to the Toolbox, one of San Francisco's first leather bars.

Warehouses and printing businesses flourished then, as now, in this industrial area of San Francisco, and at 5 p.m., workers packed up to go back to their neighborhoods. That's when the leather scene took over, dominating the SoMa neighborhood after dark with more than a dozen bars and bathhouses on Folsom Street attracting leather-clad gay men who embraced the sexual subculture.

"There were a few families living in houses, but there were no restaurants, no yuppies, none of the bridge-and-tunnel crowd," said Mister Marcus, 76, a leather scene columnist for the Bay Area Reporter since 1971. "All the businesses closed at 5 and no one was down there, so you could park and walk, all the bars were so close." [...]

On Friday, David Morgan threw open the doors to Chaps II, the most recent indication that leather is making a comeback in SoMa. [...]
You'll recall I blogged recently on Chaps II getting ready to open, but I didn't see a link between that and news from South Dakota, of all places. There aren't many occasions when the gay scene in this SF, San Francisco, anything in common with the other SF, Sioux Falls. But both SF's, in the past month, have witnessed the opening of new gay bars.

Doesn't seem to me that the gay bar culture is really dying out, and is indeed enjoying a small trendy surge.

Read the entire Chronicle story here.

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