AHF and LA County

For more than a quarter century, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has dedicated itself to providing prevention and treatment services, becoming a worldwide leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We are concerned that the AHF may be straying from this mission.

This month, the AHF launched a campaign to mobilize public opinion against Los Angeles County —accusing the county of corruption and of not providing adequate services to its 10 million residents. This is its latest attack against the County Board of Supervisors, which has awarded it millions of dollars in contracts. A county audit found that the AHF had overbilled by $1.7 million; the foundation answered with a lawsuit.

This year, the foundation was able to include a measure on the June election ballot to effectively dismantle the county’s health department and force the City of Los Angeles to create a new bureaucracy. The city has said that this would cost it $261 million a year and would force it to cut services in other areas. Both the city and the county have sued to prevent having the measure reach voters.

Now the AHF is trying to include an alternative measure on the ballot, for Los Angeles to create a citizens’ commission to review health care contracts with the county. It has promised that it will abandon its campaign supporting the first measure if the City Council adopts the second one.

The AHF has thrown its political weight behind its successful campaigns for the city and county to regulate the use of condoms in the porn industry. However, we think that the foundation is mistaken in conducting what some officials have called a vendetta against the county.

We are not denying that the county government has problems. Nevertheless, creating a municipal health department is unnecessary and we strongly oppose it.