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New AIDS Initiative

December 07, 1987

I applaud your editorial. The Times recognizes, as we do, that we are at a crucial turning point in L.A.'s war on AIDS. We have the opportunity to get out in front of this crisis, to get a handle on the care of persons with AIDS and to plan for the inevitable difficulties ahead. There is no better time than today with the monthly toll of new cases having hit 192.

One of the greatest obstacles we have had to overcome is the politicization of AIDS issues. While it would be naive to think that this will disappear altogether there is a marked change. As an organization that has been critical of the county in the past, it is also our responsibility to work with the board and the Department of Health Services to begin to remedy the situation.

It would be grossly unfair to lay the blame for the delays in implementing an AIDS hospice program in Los Angeles at the doorstep of the Department of Health Services alone. Blame, however, is not the point.

We have a health crisis which is still exploding faster than our society's response to it. We have learned at all levels of the public and private sector that even with the maximum of good will, the normal bureaucratic mechanisms are not good enough to do the job. Serious thought must be given to how we can dramatically speed up the process without sacrificing quality or wasting money.

One way of insuring a better response to AIDS is to begin to integrate the public and private response. Through the leadership that the County Commission on AIDS and the Board of Supervisors promise to bring to the issue, we must enlist a much broader range of business and community leaders in the expanded war against AIDS.

MICHAEL WEINSTEIN

L.A. AIDS Hospice Committee

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