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AIDS Healthcare Foundation Applauds City Commissioners' Support of Diversity, Urges Call for Mayor's Resignation
Date:9/5/2007

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Sept. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today applauded the actions of the Ft. Lauderdale City Commission in affirming the city's support and respect for diversity, but urged the Commission to go further and call for Mayor Jim Naugle's resignation because of his recent attacks on the gay community, including the unfounded accusation that rampant gay sex in public restrooms has been fueling Broward County's HIV/AIDS crisis. The Commission addressed the issue of the Mayor's relationship with the gay community tonight during its bi-weekly meeting.

"We applaud the action of Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson and the other City Commissioners who have demonstrated that the City of Ft. Lauderdale does not condone hate-speech or bigotry in any form," said Michael Kahane, AIDS Healthcare Foundation Bureau Chief, Southern Region. "The Commission's commitment to diversity is commendable. However, we urge the City Commission to go further and call for the Mayor's resignation. The Mayor's misinformed and irresponsible characterization of the County's HIV/AIDS epidemic is not only inaccurate and polarizing, but it may also prove deadly to those who- because of his statements-might continue to believe that they are not at risk for contracting HIV if they are not engaging in certain behaviors or members of a certain group."

In Broward County, as in much of the nation, HIV/AIDS is growing most rapidly among minorities, including African-Americans, Latinos and women. African-Americans comprise over 50% of the reported HIV cases in the state. Women accounted for 30% of the HIV cases reported in Florida in 2006.

According to "Silence is Death: The Crisis of HIV/AIDS in Florida's Black Communities," (a report published by Florida's Department of Health in September 2006) in 2005, 1 in 58 black males and 1 in 83 black females in Florida were living with a diagnosed case of HIV/AIDS. In 2005, for the 15th year in a row, HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death among black males and black females aged 25-44 years.

It is estimated that in Broward County, approximately 14,000 people, or 1 in 130, is living with HIV or AIDS; 1 in 216 among the white population; 1 in 50 African-Americans. The AIDS case rate among black females is 22 times higher than among white females.

Late last month, Broward County Commissioners, distressed over the negative impact the Mayor's comments have had on tourism in the area, unanimously voted to remove Mayor Naugle from the Ft. Lauderdale Convention & Visitor's Bureau. At that time, AIDS Healthcare Foundation applauded the actions of the County Commissioners and strongly urged the Ft. Lauderdale City Commission, Governor Charlie Crist and other public officials to denounce Mayor Naugle's hateful rhetoric and to call for his resignation.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the nation's largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare, research, prevention and education provider. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 61,000 individuals in 15 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia.

In Florida, AIDS Healthcare Foundation provides HIV/AIDS medical care and services through its AHF Magic Johnson Healthcare Center in Jacksonville; its statewide disease management program, Positive Healthcare; five Positive Healthcare Pharmacies located in Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, Miami & Jacksonville; and will launch its innovative Medicare Advantage Part D Special Needs Program in Miami-Dade & Broward counties on January 1, 2008. Additional information is available at http://www.aidshealth.org

If you have received this news release in error and do not wish to receive future advisories, or if they should be directed to someone else in your organization, please call (323) 860-5262. Alternatively, you may fax your updated information or your request for removal from our list to (323) 962-8513 or e-mail jennifer.ramirez@aidshealth.org.


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SOURCE AIDS Healthcare Foundation
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