Ever since WEHOville broke the news that Cedars-Sinai Medical Center was reducing its HIV/AIDS treatment/research programs and eliminating its HIV specialists, people have been wondering what Councilmember John Duran had to say about a move that effectively ends Cedars’ renowned HIV clinic.
An outspoken advocate for HIV/AIDS causes, Duran, who is HIV-positive, has repeatedly declined to make a statement. At Monday night’s West Hollywood City Council meeting, Duran broke his silence.
“I’m deeply disappointed,” said Duran during his council member comments. “It seems a terrible shame that they’re not going to continue this journey with us from the beginning to the end. They’re sort of cutting out in the 8th inning and I’m disappointed. Those of us who have been to Cedars and the HIV clinic, there are other facilities that are available across greater Los Angeles. We are sorry that Cedars will no longer be partnering with us on the fight against HIV.”
At the May 20 council meeting, Councilmember John D’Amico, who is also HIV-positive, also expressed his dismay at the clinic’s closing.
D’Amico said he had persuaded Cedars’ government affairs liaison, Debra Kallick, to send a letter to patients getting treatment at the clinic detailing alternative care options.
People with questions can also contact the city’s social services manager, Daphne Dennis, for more information and referrals for HIV care.
Longtime activist Dana Miller also condemned the HIV clinic’s closing in a recent column for Frontiers LA magazine.
“It seems they have lost their way. It’s clear Cedars is an ever-evolving world-class hospital charging customers, insurers and governments the very top of the fee scale. HIV and AIDS is just a niche they no longer care as much about,” said Miller in his June 3 column. “These trials and research are vitally important to our community and all affected by this plague. Cedars-Sinai apparently disagrees. It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy people can have. We sadly have now discovered we have a new one.”