Twenty-five million people have died of AIDS worldwide since the disease was first identified in 1981. Of those, 480 were Santa Barbara residents. Each year for the past five years, between 10 and 30 county residents have been infected with HIV. Of those, 60 percent were white, 30 percent Latino, and two percent black; 87 percent were men. In commemoration of World AIDS Day on December 1, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reminds residents that it offers multiple sites for free, anonymous HIV testing. For more information, visit

A young woman who lay down in the street after a fight with her boyfriend was run over and suffered severe abdominal injuries. The 19-year-old and her boyfriend had argued after returning to her apartment from a Sunday night party. As he left with a friend who had driven them home, she protested by lying in the intersection of De la Vina and Pueblo streets. There is no description of the vehicle that ran her over. She was discovered by a taxi driver shortly after midnight.

The South Santa Barbara County Breast-feeding Coalition completed a postcard campaign urging the federal government to include less infant formula in food packets supplied to low-income nursing mothers. The more formula nursing mothers receive, the more likely they are to use it instead of breast milk, which has numerous health benefits for infants, according to the coalition’s Meg Beard. For the first time in 30 years, the federal government is revising its nutritional recommendations for the Women, Infants, and Children welfare packages.

Direct Relief International (DRI) earned a score of 100 percent for its fundraising efficiency in Forbes magazine’s annual assessment of the nation’s 200 largest charities. It is the fifth year in a row that the Santa Barbara-based organization earned a perfect score, reflecting the fact that it spends less than one percent of its income on fundraising. This year, it shares the honor with 16 other charities. In addition, DRI scored 99 percent in the category of “charitable commitment,” which assesses the portion of its budget going directly to the group’s charitable purposes rather than salaries and other overhead. DRI distributes medical supplies worldwide.

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