Amador County AIDS Programs

Summary

The Grand Jury conducted interviews with county health care professionals. Subjects included AIDS education, testing, treatment, and statistics relating to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The Grand Jury concluded that education, prevention, awareness, and treatment are being addressed and serviced adequately.

Findings

  1. AIDS is the fastest growing health problem for those between the ages of 13-19. AIDS is the leading cause of death of those between the ages of 24-44.
  2. There are more than 103,000 cases of full-blown AIDS in California.
  3. There are three known cases of full-blown AIDS and twenty-seven Human Immune Virus (HIV) cases in Amador County. The exact number of AIDS patients is difficult to determine because some patients receive treatment outside the county.
  4. The Amador County Public Health Department is proactive in trying to identify and treat people with AIDS and HIV.
  5. The Health Department provides testing for AIDS and HIV. The state pays the cost for those patients who cannot afford testing. Test results are strictly confidential. The Health Department reports only the patient’s sex, date of birth and postal code to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  6. Each person who is tested receives a health education folder geared to lifestyle and behavioral changes.
  7. Sutter Amador Hospital provides skilled and acute care to individuals with AIDS.
  8. Following discharge, the Health Department makes social services available to patients and their families.
  9. The Health Department administers a state-funded educational program that concentrates on high-risk areas such as penal institutions. The Health Department’s Services and Special Projects Coordinator is responsible for sexually transmitted diseases (STDS) and AIDS education in the school system.
  10. The California Education Code requires HIV/AIDS education be given at least once in junior high school and at least once in high school.
  11. A Health Education and Family Life Committee provides input regarding family values and educational materials used in the classroom. The committee is comprised of parents and teachers.
  12. Teaching about AIDS and HIV first occurs in the seventh and eighth grades. Before the seventh grade, course material covers subjects such as communicable diseases, growth, and development. In grades nine through twelve, the school nurse gives an HIV/AIDS presentation once each year.
  13. Parents retain the right to determine their child’s participation. Each parent receives a letter explaining course content and options regarding participation in the class.

Conclusions

AIDS education, prevention and treatment is adequately handled by the Amador County Public Health Department.

Recommendations

None

Comment Requirements

None

Authority to Investigate

Penal Code Section 925 authorizes the Grand Jury to review the operation of county government. As required by Penal Code Section 916, at least twelve Grand Jurors voted to review the operations of the Amador County Public Health Department. The focus of this review was the services provided for AIDS and AIDS related diseases.

Method of Review

Members of the Grand Jury conducted interviews with the following people:

Additionally, members of the Grand Jury reviewed:

The Grand Jury conducted on site visits to Sutter Amador Hospital and the Health Department.

Background

The Amador County Public Health Department provides a number of services relating to AIDS and HIV. These services include:

Testing

HIV/AIDS tests are available through the Amador County Public Health Department. Testing is available to anyone upon request or physician referral. The testing fee is ten dollars. Testing is free for those who cannot pay. The average number of tests is twenty per month. Strict confidentiality ensures that test results will not adversely affect employment or other life issues.

Counseling

Public health nurses provide counseling. Counseling is offered when testing is requested and when results are available.

Education

The California Education Code requires HIV/AIDS education at least once during middle school and once during high school. The state provides funding for these classes.

The Amador County Public Health Department’s AIDS Education Provider assists the Amador County Unified School District to provide HIV/AIDS to junior high and high school students. Class material stresses prevention. HIV/AIDS education includes information about STDS. Credentialed Public Health Nurses and Health and Family Life teachers conduct the courses.

State law requires school districts to provide parents and guardians an opportunity to review course material before presentation. The Amador County Unified School District has established a parent committee to review these materials. Teachers act as advisors to the committee.

State law requires parents be given the option to remove their children from these classes. Parents receive written notification of course material before classes begin. Parents may decline to have their children attend all or part of the classes.

The Health Department also provides educational services to private and public employers. This state-funded program concentrates on high-risk areas such as penal institutions.

Supplementary Information

Sutter Amador Hospital Admissions Policy, dated September, 1993

Francis, Donald, MD, Comparative Mortality, (Photocopy of chart from unknown source document dated September, 1993 provided by Amador County Public Health Department)

Office of AIDS, HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Branch, California Department of Health Services, Cumulative AIDS Cases in California by County, as of June 30, 1997

Sutter Amador Hospital, MIRA Diagnosis Frequency Report, (October 23, 1997)

Amador County Unified School District Board Policy BP-6142.2

The California Education Code