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“Centos en la marcha en Tecate” 9
VOLUME 17 . ISSUE 15
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Encouraged by the City of Durham's recent
approval of domestic partner benefits, county
by Claudia Assis
reprint permission . The Herald-Sun
DURHAM — A group of Durham County employees
is pushing for domestic-partner benefits similar to those
now offered by the city government.
in the city government, unmarried heterosexual and
homosexual partners who live with and share expenses
with city employees are eligible for city health and den
“1 don’t know whether it is feasible or not,” said
County Manager Mike Ruffin. “We are trying to deter
mine what are the issues with this kind of request.”
But for some county employees the issue is a matter
of fairness and showing respect for all employees.
“The timing is right,” said Nancy Blood, a county
y,QmpIoyee for peady. 25 ■ yeprs.- .. .
About 10 county employees have been lobbying for
it for some time, but with the city of Durham’s recent
decision to grant domestic-partner benefits, the issue
became hotter, according to Blood.
“The main focus is the disparity between practice
and policy,” she said. Both Durham county’s personnel
ordinance and its compensation policy do not discrimi
nate against sexual orientation — refered by both as ‘a
preference of affection.’ Not offering benefits could be a
way to discriminate against gay and lesbian employ
ees.” she said.
lennifer Sosensky, a county employee for almost 12
years said the county should be doing everything in its
power to offer health benefits to as many of its citizens,
said Jennifer Sosensky, a county employee for almost 12
The County,Commissioners haven’t requested a for
mal review from the legal department, County Attorney
Chuck Kitchen said, but since the issue has been float
ing around he has given it some thought. “There are all
kinds of different issues that come up with domestic
partnership provisions,” he said.
Considerations would need to include: the scope of
the policy, or who could be covered. Another is how to
establish the employee has a domestic partner as
opposed to a roommate without insurance. Kitchen
And the issue could be more complicated than sim
ply saying that if the Durham city employees have it,
Durham County employees should have it too, he said.
Historically, cities have been legally allowed to do more
things than counties, which have more constraints from
the state. Kitchen said. The county employees have
already contacted Commissioner Ellen Reckhow, they
“At this point, 1 want to get that feedback on how this
would fit into our benefits package and any legal
issues,” Reckhow said, “it will be addressed, I can
assure you of that.” According to Diane Juffras, an
institute of Government’s lawyer specializing in human
resources legislation, there is nothing in the state law
see DURHAM on 3
Rapid-result HIV Test gets OK
Break-through makes testing easier,
results almost immediate; saliva
testing is next step
WASHINGTON, DC — Health
and Human Services Secretary
Tommy Thompson announced
the Food and Drug
Administration’s approval of a
new HIV status test with results
in 20 minutes, instead of two
als and GLBT groups
believe; the rapid-results
test will increase the
number of people who are
tested and subsequently seek
appropriate treatments. The test will be a
huge asset in hard-to-reach communities
including young gay and bisexual men and
communities of color.
The FDA estimates 8000 HiV-infected
individuals a year do not receive the results
of their HIV test and consequently do not
The rapid-result HIV test
The new OraQukk test..will be adminis
tered by health workers who take a small
blood sample from a subject’s finger, put it
in a vial with a developing solution and then
dip in a testing stick. A single red line on the
stick means no HIV; two red lines indicate
the person may have HiV and should be
Oral version urged by FDA
A version of the test that uses saliva
instead of blood has yet to be approved.
The test is easy enough for social work
ers to administer; but for now, only health
workers are authorized because the manu
facturer, OraSure Technologies Inc. has not
yet applied for the necessary federal
approval. According to the Associated Press,
Health and Human Services Secretary
Tommy Thompson has urged OraSure to
take that step so the test can be
more widely available.
Redge Norton of the San
Francisco AIDS Foundation,
welcomed the test’s
believe that by
barriers — and stud
ies show that time is a
barrier to some — peo
ple learn their serosta-
tus, make informed
health and treatment decisions and can pre
vent further transmission.”
Testing and counseling
Shana Krochmal, of San Francisco’s Stop
AIDS Project, agreed OmQidck will be an
important tool but cautioned that knowing
one’s HIV status is just part of the picture.
“Any form of testing needs to be paired
with solid, pre- and post-test counseling
that helps people stay safe and healthy by
keeping them up-to-date about safer, sex
and resources for treatment education," she
The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention estimates that more than
200,000 people in the United States are
infected with HIV but don’t know it.
OraSure will ship its products within the
next 30 - 60 days.
info: Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA
OraSure, Inc. www.orasure.com
Share-A-Bear with the children
The Share-A-Bear campaign covering North and South Carolina is in full swing. No
hibernatin’ here! Collection places across the Carolinas are waiting for you to drop off a
brand new cuddly, furry teddy bear just in time for Christmas.
The first campaign raised and distributed over 200
teddy bears. Last year they delivered 3690.
In 1994 James Martin came up with the idea of
collecting bears through the Carolina Bear Lodge.
The Share-A-Bear Foundation is a children’s char
ity based in North Carolina, but provides teddy bears to
children touched by HlV/AipS and life-threatening dis
eases in both North and South Carolina.
“ Give a new teddy bear today, this one's spoken for.
Mecklenburg Share-A-Bear 704-573-2267
Gaston County Share-A-Bear
AIDS Council 704 853-5101
Share-A-Bear South Carolina 803-376-8939