L.A. County Votes to Create Panel on AIDS

Times Staff Writer

A 17-member Los Angeles County Commission on AIDS has been created to advise the Board of Supervisors on ways to combat the epidemic locally.

The board voted unanimously Tuesday to create the new panel to replace the 3-year-old informal task force formed by Supervisor Ed Edelman and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley. The new commission will be made up of activists in the fight against acquired immune deficiency syndrome and county officials. The members are expected to be named within two weeks.

Supervisor Mike Antonovich had urged the creation of a “technical” panel consisting of medical and legal members, but his colleagues opposed that move. However, they agreed with an Antonovich suggestion to include a representative from U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop’s office and another from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.


Coordinate Efforts

Edelman supported the new commission’s creation, saying it would help to coordinate efforts by various county departments in the local effort to prevent the spread of the fatal disease. Those local efforts are concentrated in educational, mental health and hospice programs.

As of last month, the total number of confirmed AIDS cases in Los Angeles County was 2,965. Only San Francisco and New York have more.

When the commission proposal was first made last week, some AIDS activists feared that the new panel would be used to silence critics of the board’s conservative majority. Specifically, City-County Task Force Chairman Neil Schramm has criticized the board for acting slowly to alert high-risk groups on methods to avoid exposure to AIDS.

But Schramm, according to an Edelman aide, endorsed the creation of the commission and is likely to become one of its members.