People infected with the human immunodeficiency virus and those who have AIDS are invited to testify about community services available to them at a series of hearings next week, county officials said Thursday.
The hearings will allow local officials to better plan the types of services to make available to those in need, said Ron Yardley, a spokesman for the county health department.
"These public meetings represent one of the most important avenues in which to actively participate in the HIV and AIDS planning process," said Dan O'Shea, chairman of the HIV Care Coalition, a group co-sponsoring the hearings.
"Community input is critical," said Larry Johnson, chairman of the HIV Planning Council, the other sponsor of the hearings.
These two groups oversee federal funds given to local community organizations under the Ryan White CARE Act, which offers money to areas with high numbers of AIDS cases. White was the Indiana youth who fought AIDS discrimination before his death in 1990.
San Diego County now receives $1.8 million from the Ryan White CARE Act. This money is used for a range of services, including medical and dental care, case management, social support services, psychiatric care, transportation and child care.
In the months after basketball player Ervin (Magic) Johnson announced he had contracted HIV, local facilities have been besieged with demands for services. Organizers say the hearings scheduled for next week are one way that those who contracted HIV, AIDS patients and their families and friends can make their voices heard by those who allocate money for services in the county.
In San Diego county, there are now more than 3,000 cases of AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome--a deadly disease with no known cure.
Five hearings will be held next week:
* Jan. 6 at Joyce Beers Community Center in Hillcrest, from 4 to 6 p.m.
* Jan. 6 at the Department of Health Services Complex, 3851 Rosecrans St., from 10 a.m. to noon.
* Jan. 7 at the Tri-City Hospital, 4002 Vista Way in Oceanside, from 4 to 6 p.m.
* Jan. 8 at the South Bay Recreation Center, 119 West Hall in San Ysidro, from 4 to 6 p.m.
* Jan. 9 at the Edgemoor Hospital, 9065 Edgemoor St. in Santee, from 4 to 6 p.m.
For more information, contact the Office of AIDS Coordination at 236-2231.