(Washington, DC) — On Monday, June 27, 2011, Mayor Vincent C. Gray will show his support for National HIV Testing Day by getting an HIV test at one of the District’s most comprehensive medical clinics. Bread for the City will open the doors of its newly expanded and renovated primary care center located at 1525 7th Street NW to the Mayor, DC Department of Health officials and District residents interested in receiving an HIV test. Bread for the City is well known in the community for providing over 35 years of services; including HIV testing, primary medical care, mental health and legal counseling, and needle exchange and clothing services to some of the District’s most underserved residents.
“It is so important for each and every resident who is sexually active to know their status, to use the over 20 community-based organizations in our city to get tested for HIV, and to protect themselves and the ones they love from becoming infected,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “I am pleased to be able to partner with Bread for the City as we highlight the importance of HIV testing, and remind everyone that although National HIV Testing Day is imperative to raise awareness, the fact of the matter is that every day in the District should be National HIV Testing Day, not just June 27.”
Mayor Gray will also use this opportunity to speak on the most recent Congressional proposal to strip the District’s use of local funds to support needle exchange programs in the city. This news comes only just a week after the release of the city’s fourth epidemiology report on HIV/AIDS which highlighted how critical the city’s community based needle exchange clinics have been in helping to reduce HIV transmission among active injection drug users.
The District’s latest HIV/AIDS Update cited that 3.2% of the city’s population is currently living with HIV/AIDS. The report also indicates that nearly 1 in 5 persons contracted HIV/AIDS through intravenous drug use. Additionally, in 2010, DC increased HIV testing, supporting 110,000 tests. The city has improved in connecting more than 75% of people into care and treatment within three months of their HIV diagnosis and has made steady strides to provide injection drug users with clean needles.
Select the following links to read the District of Columbia HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Epidemiology Report 2010 Update and Injection Drug Use: IDUs and HIV Infection in DC. Select here to find a free HIV testing center near you.