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Hepatitis Youth Outreach
While much effort on the part of Lisa Davis ("Viral Combat," March 11) has been spent deconstructing the multimillion-dollar wrangle between Chiron and the CDC, those of us working on the ground in the fight against hepatitis C would like to bring your readers' attention to the young people who are positive to the HCV antibody test at issue. Our ongoing collaborative project between UCSF and Haight Ashbury Youth Outreach Team (not the Medical Clinic as Davis wrote) has found that 50 percent of participating young injection drug users under the age of 30 test positive for hepatitis C antibody.

Instead of focusing on biotech industry lawsuits, let's put our attention to public health. We must make every effort possible to provide hepatitis C prevention to young injectors before the proportion of those positive grows to that of adult injectors, 90 percent of whom have hepatitis C. This means putting dollars into outreach programs and research to better understand transmission and to equip injectors with the knowledge and tools they need to keep themselves healthy -- one tool being hepatitis A and B vaccine, more commonly given to travelers and health workers than to injectors.

Kristen Ochoa
UCSF Department of Epidemiology
San Francisco General Hospital
Via Internet

Swine or Fools: The Debate Continues
I'd like to commend the Weekly on its consistency in maintaining a uniformly low, sleazy, and demeaning level of journalism. The most recent example is the coupling of an article on hepatitis C with a photo series of someone shooting drugs ("Viral Combat"). How about a nice crab's-eye view of anal sex for your next article on HIV?

To put it country simple, HCV article + shooting photo = junkie disease = disgusting/their own fault. Please try to tell me that's not how the mind works -- I could use a laugh. The current estimate is that 60 percent of U.S. HCV transmission is by intravenous drug use. I suppose that's close enough for the Weekly.

While I'm here, perhaps you could decide an argument over that article and photo: My friend says that you do understand the power of linked imagery (as in advertising), and are therefore swine; I say you don't, and are therefore fools. Which is it?

And of course, it just wouldn't have been the Weekly if you'd included a pointer to the S.F. Hepatitis C Support Project, at 834-4100.

Sad, shoddy, and destructive, as usual. I'd add irresponsible, but you'd probably take that as a compliment.

Scott Davey

Woody Guthrie, Plagiarist
Are you aware that Woody Guthrie, whom you write about in your Ramblin' Jack Elliott article ("Hard Travelin'," Music, March 11) as "one of the most important figures in the music of this century, a troubadour, an honest poet, a writer of more than 1,000 songs ...," appropriated most, if not all, of his melodies and chord progressions from previously composed songs?

Heck, Kurt Cobain only wrote one kind of song anyway, and kept repeating the same basic structure ad nauseam. I'm so sick of this Kurt good/Courtney bad dichotomy that obscures the real yin-yang truth of the couple, and all of us too.

Andy Plumb

Red Hot and Blue
Ever since the blues morphed into an improvisatory art form Luddites posing as purists have been bemoaning the "death of the blues." Philip Dawdy's potshots at modern blues ("John Lee Hooker," Reviews, March 4) are only the latest installment in this K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid) myopia.

Just this decade I've seen Sonny Landreth, Son Seals, and Johnny Winter rip through small, smoky bars like cyclones, Buddy Guy and the Allman Brothers play to screaming, teeming crowds at the Wisconsin State Fair, and Stevie Ray Vaughan's volcanic last show, in which he brought all 30,000-plus present to their knees.

No, the blues ain't dead. I suggest Mr. Dawdy drop his Dungeons and Dragons and go see a show. He might learn something.

Dan Benbow
Inner Richmond

Liz Stevens was misidentified in the Night Crawler column about The Mexterminator Project (March 11).

The caption for the March 11 Stage photo should have identified the dancer as a member of Rambert Dance Company.

SF Weekly regrets the errors.


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