About AIDS

David Powell HIV Clinic Faces Burden of Its Success

George, who has lived with HIV for 12 years, moved to Austin four years ago and was musing last week about one of our most important assets: the David Powell HIV Clinic of the Austin/Travis County Health Department. "Where I lived before, they didn't have a specialty clinic for HIV, even though it's a bigger city. While I was still able to work, that didn't affect me because I had insurance and a knowledgeable doctor. When I became disabled with AIDS and had to rely increasingly on the public health system, it really sucked. The clinic docs and nurses were well-meaning, but they weren't HIV specialists, and I paid for it big-time health-wise.

"Here in Austin, that isn't a problem for me because I go to the Powell Clinic, and they're incredibly sophisticated about my treatment. Even better, they understand what I'm going through as a human being, and they've been through it with Lord-only-knows how many other people with HIV before."

What has become a problem for George and hundreds like him is the overwhelming growth thrust on the David Powell Clinic, which is bursting at the seams space-wise and faces difficult restraints on its ability to serve a still-growing load. The nationally acclaimed clinic, housed in a small former community center in West Austin, has nowhere to put the additional people its mission demands, and the nature of the building and site do not readily lend themselves to expansion. The staff, meanwhile, juggles scheduling as best it can.

"I really feel for them and for us patients," George notes from a client perspective, "but the city needs to do something for the clinic before everybody just goes nuts."

And the city is indeed looking for an answer. A public meeting regarding relocating David Powell will be held Monday, June 22, 6-8pm at Brackenridge Hospital, third floor Boardroom. Interested folks are urged to attend.

- Sandy Bartlett,

Community Information/Education Coordinator

AIDS Services of Austin

ASA Info Line: 458-AIDS

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