D.C. is exploring new ways to fight the city’s HIV epidemic through the District's first ever panel specifically dedicated to addressing the disease.
One of the recommendations discussed Monday at the Mayor's Commission on HIV/AIDS involves requiring insurance companies to cover HIV testing in emergency rooms. Aggressive testing for HIV remains one of the city’s main objectives and ER testing is seen as a way to catch the infection early.
Another recommendation involves housing. Officials want to see if it’s possible for HIV-positive people to jump the queue and bypass the long waiting list for public housing. As one health official put it, when it comes to the virus, housing is prevention; HIV-positive people with stable housing are less likely to transmit the infection to others.
At least 3 percent of city residents are living with HIV or AIDS -- the highest rate in the country.