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Task Force on AIDS Education

February 15, 1987

Three cheers for the vision and responsiveness of the Laguna Beach City Council members, who, at their Jan. 20 meeting, decided unanimously that Laguna Beach should be the first city in Orange County to create a broadly based task force to recommend a program to educate the community about AIDS.

The threat that acquired immune deficiency syndrome poses to every woman, man and child in this community--indeed, in this country--has come painfully into our awareness.

The Health Department tells us that the number of AIDS cases per capita in Laguna Beach remains disproportionately high, exceeded only by that of Belle Glade, Fla.

Sadly, many of us in this town--gay and straight alike--also have firsthand experience in dealing with the loss that accompanies AIDS.

With no cure in sight, we have known for some time now that the only way to prevent AIDS is through education--a view that was reiterated recently by such respected authorities as the U.S. surgeon general and the National Academy of Sciences.

The question locally has been how to create a group that will quantify the need for AIDS education, identify appropriate educational programs and their target audiences, propose ways to fund them and recommend a structure or network that would implement them.

That question has been answered now. The council members have, in effect, declared that in Laguna Beach, AIDS is a public health issue and that it will be addressed as such immediately.

We know that there are educational programs in existence now, that there are agencies and funds to deliver them and that there are knowledgeable people in the community who can share their expertise.

What our City Council members have done is make it possible to link these resources so that the residents who need need them can make use of them.

FRANK E. NEWMAN

Laguna Beach

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