Houston Officials Announce Five-Year HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment Plan
"Acknowledging" that the number of local HIV/AIDS cases "continues to rise," Houston-area officials Thursday announced a "comprehensive" five-year plan to address HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment needs in the area, the Houston Chronicle reports. The plan, developed by a consortium of public and private agencies, outlines 22 objectives to be met by "specific dates" through the end of 2005. For example, the plan calls for the creation of a "single, centralized data management system" to link public and private agencies together by Sept. 1, 2004. Harris County Judge Robert Eckels, plan coordinator, said the "ultimate goal is to find a cure for HIV. But until that happens ... efforts toward prevention and treatment need to be collaborative." Mayor Lee Brown, who the Chronicle reports has received "mixed reviews" on his HIV efforts from "activists," said it is "essential" that the community work together in the fight against HIV. "The city can provide direction and leadership, but everyone must get involved," he said. The committee, composed of four planning groups with representatives from the public and private sectors, hopes to facilitate better coordination among various AIDS planning boards and to "identify overlaps in funding and barriers and gaps in sources of reimbursement." Committee members also called for more coordinated training of field clinicians and said they will "encourage public officials to act as advocates before Congress and the state Legislature for full funding of prevention, treatment and research" (Asher, Houston Chronicle, 2/8).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.