Eight health workers will be added to the county Department of Public Health to help fight the spread of acquired immune deficiency syndrome and to enable the department's overburdened staff to monitor other communicable diseases.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to add the health professionals to help in the county's educational and medical fight against the fatal disease AIDS.
The board also established a medical committee to monitor the spread of disease and a county task force on AIDS. The task force will replace a similar city board established by former San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock in 1983.
"This is going to help us, without a doubt," said Dr. Donald Ramras, the county's health officer. "We've been robbing Peter to pay Paul, depriving other activities to concentrate on AIDS. This allows us to go back and do some of the more routine things."
Ramras said his department spent more than $150,000 in the last fiscal year to fight AIDS, although no money was allocated in the budget for that purpose. Without the added staff members, he said, the county would be hamstrung in its efforts to curb the spread of other diseases, such as measles and hepatitis.
Ramras' department will gain an epidemiologist, two communicable disease investigators, a public health microbiologist and a health educator, plus 3.5 administrative positions. A proposal to add two mental health consultants to counsel people with AIDS and AIDS-related complex, a condition that often leads to the disease, will be considered during the 1986-87 budget process.
Ramras said the positions approved Tuesday also will allow his staff to follow up on the cases of AIDS-related complex, which now are recorded but are not studied.
The number of AIDS cases in the county has more than doubled each year since 1981, when the first two cases were reported. There were 4 cases reported in 1982, 20 in 1983, 41 in 1984 and 86 through November of this year.