Editorial, Opinion Piece Respond to HIV/AIDS Prevalence in District of Columbia
The Washington Post recently published an editorial and opinion piece in response to a report about HIV/AIDS prevalence in the District of Columbia. Summaries appear below.
Washington Post: "We've long known that HIV and AIDS stalk the district," the editorial says, adding, "But the startling" report "released Monday shows the breathtaking devastation that the disease with no cure has unleashed" on the city. According to the editorial, a "combination of factors allowed a bad situation to get worse." It adds that the HIV/AIDS Administration has had "14 directors ... since it was created in 1986" and that the city was "prevented from spending its own funds on a needle-exchange program until the nearly 10-year-old ban was stripped from federal legislation authorizing the district's budget last year." As "horrifying as these latest statistics are, they offer a reason for hope," the editorial says, concluding, "They reflect increased efforts by the district to get people tested and into treatment ... and to educate them about staying uninfected. ... More important, the data provide the most accurate picture to date of where and how the disease is being transmitted and who is becoming infected. With accurate data and an agency finally equipped with talent and resources, the district stands a chance of driving those numbers down in a sustained and targeted way to save lives" (Washington Post, 3/18).
- Courtland Milloy, Washington Post: "In response to a report released Monday on the HIV/AIDS crisis in the district, city officials say they plan to develop a new and improved public awareness campaign," columnist Milloy writes, adding, "Such efforts will no doubt take time and involve focus groups and require lots of data and even more money. A person could contract AIDS and be dead by then." Milloy writes, "In releasing the first report on the AIDS epidemic in 2007, city officials laid out an action agenda calling for a 'modern response' to a 'modern epidemic.'" He adds, "Two years later, little has changed except the name of the problem -- which city officials now refer to as a 'generalized and severe epidemic.'" According to Milloy, the "disease itself continues to incubate and spread in manners we have not yet even acknowledged" (Milloy, Washington Post, 3/18).