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King County Council and Seattle City Council team up to fight HIV
King County Council and Seattle City Council team up to fight HIV
The Metropolitan King County Council and Seattle City Council both voted Monday to include funding in their 2008 Budgets to significantly improve the ability of Public Health - Seattle & King County to curb the spread of HIV in King County.

The City Council and County Council each added $150,000 in 2008 funding to begin implementation of a strategic plan, endorsed by the King County Board of Health in September, to reduce the rate of new HIV infections in King County by 25 percent by 2015. With approximately 370 new HIV infections in King County each year, the Board supports a strategy that places the greatest emphasis on people at highest risk for HIV infection, with the goal of reducing new infections to 280 cases per year within eight years.

"HIV continues to infect hundreds of people in King County every year, causing human suffering and premature death," said Board of Health Chair and King County Councilmember Julia Patterson. "I am committed to reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS, and with the collective action of both the King County Council and Seattle City Council, I feel confident that fewer individuals will have to endure the pain and distress that HIV and AIDS causes."

"We intend to save lives and to reduce the human and financial costs of HIV/AIDS in our community," said Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. "We have a plan and we have added more resources to prevent the spread of HIV in King County."

The HIV/AIDS Committee's recommendations and the strategic plan focus on two main goals:

o Identify new HIV cases community-wide and decrease risky behaviors. As many as 15 to 25 percent of people infected with HIV in King County do not know they are infected. Research shows that when people know they are HIV positive, they tend to reduce risky behaviors, which helps to prevent the spread of the disease to others, as well as initiate life-saving treatment.

o Reduce HIV transmission across the county by promoting safer sex and drug use behaviors in the highest-risk communities, as well as promote early treatment for infected people, which may reduce infectiousness and prolong their lives. "The rise of HIV in King County is alarming and unacceptable," said Patterson. "HIV continues to ravage our neighborhoods and it's time we fight HIV just as aggressively."

A King County Council press release

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