Washington, DC – In the spirit of World AIDS Day, today the DC Department of Health (DOH) announces several accomplishments in the fight against HIV/AIDS for the year 2011. City-wide and Departmental efforts have lead to an increase in HIV/AIDS tests in the District, a successful condom distribution initiative and being able to provide treatment on demand to anyone who needs HIV/AIDS medical care to name a few beneficial undertakings for this year.
“Mayor Vincent C Gray’s banner of One City is truly uniting government, community, private sector, researchers and persons living with HIV together to change the course of the DC HIV epidemic,” said DOH Director, Dr. Akhter. “We have shown that leadership, innovation and accountability is achieving results with fewer new cases of HIV, more people entering care, as a result of quicker and improved coordination among all sectors of the District’s public health leadership.”
DOH has fully embraced the President’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), the first national strategy in the 30 years of the country’s epidemic. The following 2011 accomplishments are aligned with the NHAS four pillars:
Reducing New Infections
- New record of 122,000 publicly supported HIV tests, up from 110,000 in 2010 and triple the 43,000 tests in 2007.
- Distributed more than 5 million male and female condoms, a 10-fold increase from 2007.
- DC needle exchange programs are successful in reducing new HIV cases (by 60%) attributable to injection drug use.
- There have been no children born with HIV in DC since 2009.
Improving Access to Medical Care and Health Outcomes
- Nearly 500 more persons living with HIV obtained more health insurance coverage through expanded Medicaid eligibility.
- Public-private partnership “Positive Pathways” developed new peer-based community health worker program to connect newly diagnosed persons with HIV into medical care.
- New record set for time to connect a new diagnosis of HIV to care: more than 75% connected in less than three months.
Reducing Health Disparities
- Provided free STD testing for 4,300 youth ages 15 to 19 years old through the school based STD screening and community screening programs, up from 3,000 in 2010.
- Removed more than 340,000 needles from the street, an increase from 317,000 in 2010, through the DC needle exchange programs despite one program closing during the year.
- Launched first in the nation, HIV testing program at Department of Human Service Social Service center through a public-private partnership. More than 200 persons were tested in first three days.
Improving Coordination and Integration of Services
- Mayor’s Commission on HIV/AIDS actions
- Letter sent to more than 4,000 doctors in DC highlighting the District’s policy of offering routine HIV tests to all adults and adolescents.
- Ongoing collaboration between DOH and the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking to enforce District law on insurance reimbursement of HIV testing in emergency rooms.
- Developed new fast track policy for homeless persons living with HIV and mental health and substance abuse conditions to receive coordinated services.
- Mayor’s Host Committee for International AIDS Conference coordinates District government support for the AIDS2012 conference in July 2012.
- DOH is awarded new three-year $1.3 million grant from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve coordination of HIV care and prevention with mental health and substance use services.
- DOH new Rubber Revolution condom campaign wins award from the Public Relations Society of America.