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Red ribbon panel: A regional look at HIV/AIDS, Sept. 24

Regional AIDS network hosts legislators, state officials & partners; public comment welcome

EVERETT, Wash. — HIV/AIDS prevention and care in the five-county region of northwest Washington is the topic for discussion on Sept. 24, from 1-5 p.m. in the Snohomish County Public Utility District auditorium, 2320 California St., Everett.

M. Ward Hinds, MD, MPH, Health Officer for Snohomish Health District, and Alex Whitehouse, Region 3 AIDS Service Network coordinator, will welcome a state-appointed committee of legislators, community partners and state health officials. This is the third of six such events for the committee, which is gathering recommendations statewide for changes to the state’s AIDS laws and funding. Dr. Hinds directs the five-county Region 3 AIDS Service Network, the official state regional agency for AIDS information, education and coordination of services.

“Continued AIDS Omnibus funding is critical to maintaining our HIV/AIDS prevention and care programs,” said Dr. Hinds. “We hope that community providers and clients alike will speak up with various perceptions for the committee to consider. They need to hear it from the ‘front line,’” he said. The meeting’s agenda allows an hour for public comment, following background presentations and a question-and-answer exchange between panel and presenters.

For 12 years the Region 3 AIDS Service Network has coordinated HIV/AIDS prevention and care for the people of Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties. There have been more than 750 persons diagnosed and reported with AIDS in the Region. “For years we have had to get smarter with fewer dollars to prevent and treat this disease,” said Whitehouse. “Despite underfunding, the system we have currently manages to meet most of the needs of our communities,” he continued. “But that certainly would not be the case without the high degree of collaboration and cooperation we have among public and private providers, and the many volunteer hours given to this cause.”

Established in 1959, the Snohomish Health District works to improve the health of individuals, families and communities through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. Find more information about the Region 3 AIDS Service Network on the Snohomish Health District site at www.snohd.org.

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