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Kaiser Permanente Awards $195,000 to HIV/AIDS Organizations in Northern California; $362,500 In Grants Statewide Brings Total to More Than $3.1 Million Since 1989.

Business Editors/Health/Medical Writers

OAKLAND, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 21, 2003

Kaiser Permanente has awarded Healthy Community Grants totaling $195,000 to 36 agencies in Northern California that provide special services to people who are HIV-positive or have acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Kaiser Permanente has now given $3.1 million in grants to organizations serving the HIV/AIDS community since the program's inception in 1989.

The grants support nonprofit agencies that provide everything from hot meals and housekeeping to advocacy services and support groups for women and children with HIV. Many are also involved in outreach efforts aimed at preventing new HIV cases.

"People with HIV and AIDS need many services -- such as advocacy and appropriate information to make informed decisions about treatment options -- in addition to medical treatment. When selecting a community service grant recipient, we particularly look for agencies that offer services complementary to or in addition to those of primary health care providers," said Michael Allerton, M.S., HIV operations policy leader for Kaiser Permanente's Northern California Region.

One such agency is the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center (A&PI). The Center provides comprehensive HIV care services to their clients in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Alameda counties. Services include HIV primary care, case management, peer advocacy, treatment advocacy, psychiatric services, individual and group psychotherapy, and support groups with practical and emotional support.

Annually, nearly 300 Asian and Pacific Islanders from 18 ethnic groups access the Wellness Center's Care Services, which remains the only source of culturally and linguistically competent HIV services for this underserved community in Northern California.

Physicians, nurses, health educators and Kaiser Permanente staff members who work with HIV and AIDS patients select grant recipients for the communities they themselves serve. Many agencies were chosen because they provide services that are not covered by insurance benefits or not readily available through state, county and federal agencies.

"These grants are very important for this community because the local people providing care really know who's doing what and what needs to be done," said Allerton.

Another example is the East Bay Center for Performing Arts. The funding from Kaiser Permanente will support arts content for an eight-week workshop series helping African American women and teenage girls in Oakland and Richmond reduce their own risk of HIV/AIDS infection and become peer educators in their communities. In Sonoma County, the Healthy Communities grant awarded to Face to Face/Sonoma County AIDS Network will support expansion of the Latino Case Management program which provides access to a wide range of services to members of the Latino community who have HIV and AIDS.

Since the early 1980s, when a Kaiser Permanente physician in San Francisco was one of the first to identify AIDS in a patient, Kaiser Permanente has been a leader in meeting the tough challenges of treating this virus, both through medical care and Kaiser Permanente's work in the community.

In addition to grant giving, Kaiser Permanente's commitment to preventing HIV/AIDS is demonstrated by the organization's innovative public health programs:

-- Beginning with the HIV Research Clinics in 1987, today all

medical centers participate in studies, which have helped move

HIV/AIDS treatment forward.

-- Prenatal care has been another area of success -- as a result

of a concerted effort to increase HIV antibody testing, an

impressive 90 percent of pregnant women receiving prenatal

care at Kaiser Permanente in California are voluntarily tested

for the HIV virus.

-- Another innovative program is the Positive Self-Management

Program (or PSMP) in Northern California and the Living

Healthy with HIV in Southern California. These self-care

classes for people living with HIV, are led by specially

trained, people who are HIV-positive.

-- Focusing on prevention, the organization's Educational Theater

Program's health education play "Secrets," about HIV and AIDS,

has been seen by approximately 1.6 million high school

students statewide since it premiered in 1988.

Kaiser Permanente is a non-profit, prepaid, group practice health maintenance organization (HMO), founded in 1945. The Kaiser Permanente Northern California Region has almost 3.2 million members. It includes 4,694 physicians in The Permanente Medical Group (TPMG) and approximately 54,300 Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals and TPMG employees. The Region is organized into six service areas served by 17 major medical centers.

Editors Note: A complete list of grant recipients is available upon request. Interviews with recipients can be arranged through Lea Rubio (510) 987-3900.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 21, 2003
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