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Federal Government Unveils Plan To Fight HIV/AIDS

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"Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius  and Dr. Howard Coe unveil the governments new AIDS initiative."
"Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Dr. Howard Coe unveil the governments new AIDS initiative."

By Elliott Francis

D.C.’s Whitman Walker clinic is a community health center which specializes in HIV/AIDS care. Clinic administrators say they are encouraged by recent news of the Federal government’s comprehensive strategy against HIV/AIDS.

Clinic Executive director Don Blanchon says the new plan, which among other goals, seeks to cut new infections by 25 percent in 5 years, makes sense, but there’s another reason he’s on-board.

"In part the way the Obama administration went ahead in putting this plan together. Very community based, very much soliciting input from community stakeholders like Whitman Walker, individuals living with HIV, other community organizations, and I think that work is going to pay a lot of dividends," says Blanchon.

The strategy will also insure treatment for 85 percent of patients within three months of diagnosis. Although $30 million will be set aside to help implement the plan, critics say it’s not enough. Blanchon disagrees.

“Clearly the federal government with its budget deficit and other issues is not going to pour billions of new dollars into this. Yet the government spends over $20 million each year on HIV prevention, we can do better with that now.”

Administration officials also revealed the district will host the international AIDS conference in 2010.


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