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posted Friday, October 8, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 41
HIV services at Juvenile Detention facility at risk in proposed county budget
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HIV services at Juvenile Detention facility at risk in proposed county budget

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

While most King County HIV services may survive budget cuts proposed by county executive Dow Constantine because they also get funding from state and federal sources, HIV services at the county's Juvenile Detention facility are at immediate risk for termination.

His proposed 2011 budget included 'significant service reductions,' Constantine told the County Council.

Constantine proposed to lay off 200 county employees and eliminate about 300 other positions from the county's 13,000 full-time employee work force.

Among the positions scheduled for elimination is the HIV/STD specialist who serves juvenile offenders held at the county's detention facility.

According to King County Public Health spokesperson James Apa, the position is a .35 FTE - the equivalent of 14 hours per week.

Apa estimated that the HIV/STD clinician handles between 500 and 600 patients per year.

The position provides what Apa described as 'enhanced STD prevention and care services.'

'Here's what the position does,' Apa told SGN. 'They would see juveniles who show symptoms of STDs, who test positive for STDs, who ask to see a clinician for STD testing or treatment, or who are being held on a prostitution charge.'

'We will still have primary medical care services,' Apa continued. 'That would be looking at all health conditions.'

'STD needs would have to be prioritized' if the specialist is cut from the 2011 budget, Apa said.

If the proposed budget goes into effect, the remaining medical personnel at the juvenile detention facility would have to take on an increased workload to manage the 500-600 patients now handled by the HIV/STD clinician.

'The details of how that would be managed are not known,' Apa said.

In his conversation with SGN, Apa also clarified the issue of the county's disease control officers.

Currently one officer is specifically assigned to monitor HIV.

According to Apa, that position will not be eliminated, but will be left vacant. The county would, therefore, save the salary for that position.

If other funding sources are found in the future - outside grants, for example - then it can be refunded, Apa said.

King County's general-fund revenues for 2011 are expected to fall $60 million short of the cost of maintaining county services at current levels.

2011 will be the third straight year that general fund revenues have declined.

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