HIV/AIDS Report Card Acknowledges the District’s Progress, Flags Serious Issues for Leadership to Address

Nine years ago, DC Appleseed issued its 2005 report, HIV/AIDS in the Nation’s Capital: Improving the District of Columbia’s Response to a Public Health Crisis. Subsequently, DC Appleseed’s Report Cards have documented the progress made by the District government to address various elements of the HIV epidemic. On Tuesday, December 16, at 9:00 am, DC Appleseed will release its Ninth Report Card at the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Room G9. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Committee on Health Chair Yvette Alexander, Department of Health Director Joxel García, and HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration (HAHSTA) Senior Deputy Director Michael Kharfen are expected to attend.

In the Ninth Report Card, DC Appleseed applauds Mayor Gray for making HIV/AIDS a priority of his administration. We also commend District agencies and the community for the progress made in addressing the epidemic, including prevention efforts that contributed to the reduction in new infection rates reported in the District’s 2014 Annual Epidemiology & Surveillance Report.

Highlights from the Ninth Report Card include:

  • Grade Improvements at HAHSTA: DC Appleseed is pleased to see HAHSTA’s efforts to improve grades in four areas: Leadership, Grants Management, HIV Surveillance, and Monitoring & Evaluation. DC Appleseed is especially pleased that this year’s Epidemiology Report included incidence data for that first time.
  • Public Education in the District is still an area of concern. Four years after the passage of the Healthy Schools Act, DC Appleseed finds that glaring inadequacies still remain with respect to HIV/AIDS education in the District. While D.C. Public Schools have made substantial progress, charter schools and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education appear to fall short of their responsibilities to D.C. youth.
  • As for many in the District, housing is a major issue for people living with HIV/AIDS, particularly those with low-income. Stable housing is essential to efforts to prevent new infections and ensure HIV-positive residents can maintain treatment. HAHSTA is developing a plan to address systemic issues, including challenges within federal housing programs, but decisive action must be taken at all levels of District government.

The full report card is available here.

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