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State Sen. Wiener Calls For Statewide Plan To End New HIV Infections

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, on Thursday introduced a bill that would require state agencies to create a comprehensive plan to end new HIV infections, as well as other STDs, throughout California.

Senate Bill 859 calls on the California Health and Human Services Agency to work with the California Public Health Department's Office of AIDS to set targets for ending new infections of HIV, hepatitis C virus and other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as identify programs, policies, strategies and money to reach those targets.

"We have the tools to end new infections of HIV and STDs. What we're missing is political will," Wiener said in a statement.

"This bill, SB 859, would require California to make a plan to end this epidemic, and help state agencies access the necessary resources to do so. I'm proud to be introducing another piece of legislation fighting for the LGBT community, which, alongside other marginalized communities, is disproportionately impacted by HIV and STDs. California must be a leader on these issues, and right now we're at risk of falling behind," he said.

"Creating a master plan on HIV, HCV and STDs will address widening disparities among vulnerable populations and build upon the successes of the last 30 years," Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, said.

According to Wiener's office, while treatments and preventative measures exist to fight new infections, rates of infection for communities of color have risen.

Statewide, between 2013 and 2017, new HIV diagnoses decreased just 2 percent for African-Americans, while they increased by 4 percent for the Latinx community. New HIV diagnoses for people who identified as white, however, declined by nearly 13 percent, Wiener's office said.

"San Francisco has long been a global leader in working to end new HIV infections, and just last year new HIV infections dropped below 200 for the first time ever," San Francisco Mayor London Breed said.

"We are, however, facing some of the same challenges that we see statewide, including reaching our Black and Latino populations and reducing new infections for people who are experiencing homelessness. We need the state to develop a comprehensive plan that will help our city, our region, and our state end the epidemic once and for all," she said.

© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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