A clinic planning to charge $100 to administer tests and issue identity cards to those found free of antibodies to the AIDS virus cannot open because of building code violations, city officials said Tuesday.
Inspectors found inadequate parking and other violations at the National Assn. for AIDS Awareness clinic, said Frank Kroeger, general manager of the city's Department of Building and Safety.
Kroeger's department was one of several that the City Council, in a motion passed Friday, asked to investigate the clinic. The others were the Los Angeles County Consumer Affairs Department, the district attorney's office, the state Department of Health Services and the federal Food and Drug Administration.
The clinic had planned to open Monday but called it off when reporters and photographers crowded in front of the company's offices.
Clinic officials did not immediately return telephone calls for comment on the announcement of building code violations.
Some of the violations resulted from work done without a permit, and the clinic probably can obtain a permit easily, said Alisa Katz, a spokeswoman for Zev Yaroslavsky, one of several City Council members critical of the clinic.
But the lack of parking spaces could mean that the clinic will have to ask for a variance unless it plans to expand the parking lot, Katz said. A variance request could wind up before the City Council.
Clinic attorney Peter Brown said at a news conference Tuesday that he had invited critical council members to tour the clinic and threatened legal action if they don't retract their statements after a tour.
Yaroslavsky, who joined Kroeger at a news conference, said he would urge the city attorney's office to give the case the highest priority if the clinic fails to close as ordered.
Yaroslavsky said the clinic's proposed services would be expensive and misleading and would duplicate free testing by other agencies, and Councilman Joel Wachs accused its operators of trying to make money from the misfortune of AIDS sufferers.
A positive test indicates the presence of AIDS antibodies, which means that the person tested has been exposed to the AIDS virus. It does not mean that person has AIDS. About 10% of those who test positive will develop AIDS, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
At least 60% of people with a positive antibody test carry the AIDS virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Of those, some may continue to carry the virus but not get sick. They are carriers who can transmit the disease to others.
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome cripples the body's immune system, leaving victims vulnerable to infections and other diseases, including cancers.
It is most likely to strike homosexuals, abusers of injectable drugs and hemophiliacs. It is spread by sexual contact, contaminated needles and blood transfusions, but apparently not by casual contact, authorities say.