AHF L.A Times’ Ad Urges California to ‘Get It Together!’ on COVID Response
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LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In response to Los Angeles' and the State of California's chaotic and deeply flawed response to the COVID pandemic, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will launch an advocacy ad urging leaders to allow for a stepped-up, coordinated and decentralized response with scientists, doctors and community leaders taking the lead rather than politicians. The full page, color ad, headlined "California: Get it Together on COVID 19!" will first run on Sunday, January 17, 2021 in the Los Angeles Times.

The "California: Get it Together!" ad notes that several fundamental public health principles are not being followed, hampering an effective response on a local and statewide level. The ad points out:

"First and foremost, the top-down approach that excludes the private sector and community doesn't work. There is no question that we need strong leadership and direction from government. However, it is the community health providers, religious institutions, schools, businesses, fraternities and sororities, neighborhood associations and all manner of organizations that have the deepest connection to the community ...

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… Likewise, government bureaucracy is literally killing many Californians every day. Expert committees; lengthy protocols; and exhortations to comply are not enough. What is needed is a partnership
."

"Whether it is in prevention, testing or vaccination very little effort to engage community has taken place. This is much of the reason that California's efforts to contain the virus are failing," said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "The heavy-handed approach to talking at people rather than to people isn't going to succeed."

The advocacy ad also notes that while AHF is "…reluctant to criticize in the middle of a pandemic, the missteps are so severe that we must speak out." AHF then offers several suggestions for an improved and more coordinated response on a state and local level. These include:
  • Communication must be clear, transparent, and concise and be backed up with data.
  • Scientists, doctors and community leaders must be in the lead in briefing the public, rather than politicians.
  • Vaccine distribution can be done at big sites, but it must also be decentralized. We need urgency, less paperwork and easier access immediately.
  • We need state of the art creative advertising to promote vaccination.
  • In prevention, we need a harm reduction approach that minimizes exposure but allows people whatever outlets are relatively safer while we fight through this plague. Absolute abstinence doesn't work.

The ad concludes: "We can and we must win. The 'can do' California attitude is the way to go. The sooner we embrace it, the sooner our lives will improve."

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About AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.5 million people in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.stats
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