D.C. is making progress in addressing HIV/AIDS, but advocates say more progress is needed.
The public policy organization DC Appleseed released its eighth annual HIV/AIDS Report Card on Wednesday. Even though the District was scored mostly in the A and B range, many areas were downgraded since last year and many saw no improvement.
In 2009, almost 3 percent of District residents had HIV or AIDS. Those rates were higher than West Africa. Since then, D.C. has made steady progress with an almost 50 percent decline in new HIV and AIDS cases and an almost 80 percent increase in newly diagnosed people receiving health care within three months.
Walter Smith, the head of DC Appleseed, says that since last year, the District has made improvements in three critical areas.
"The needle exchange is one, the testing is one and the condom distribution is one," Smith says. "There are three proven prevention tools and the city is doing better on all of them and we gave them an A on all of them."
But Smith says the city still has a long way to go.
"If we're going to celebrate the fact that last year we only had 718 new HIV cases, we also need to lament the fact that last year we had 718 new HIV cases," he says.
Compared to the last report card, D.C. was downgraded in five areas such as leadership, HIV surveillance and data monitoring. And in five areas D.C. showed no progress, including public education and screening and treatment among the incarcerated.