2 Health Groups Given Grant for HIV Patient Care

A grant from a federal agency will allow the Venice Family Clinic and the Santa Monica AIDS Project to provide health care and other services to people with HIV, officials announced Friday.

The grant of $844,080 from the Health and Human Services Department will bring comprehensive care for uninsured HIV patients to the Venice-Santa Monica area for the first time, said Hywel Sims, executive director of the Santa Monica AIDS Project.

In seeking the grant, the two organizations chose to focus on providing services to people with HIV who have no access to health care, and who might face additional problems such as mental illness or homelessness, Sims said.

HIV care at the free clinic will be overseen by Dr. Bisher Akil, who has helped establish several other HIV clinics in Southern California.

The AIDS Project will provide mental health counseling, skills training and assistance with transportation and housing to HIV patients.

Funds from the grant, secured with the help of Rep. Jane Harman (D-Torrance), will be disbursed over four years.

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