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Government of the District of

Columbia
Department of Health

FOR IMMEDIATE
RELEASE

Media contacts only: Dena Iverson: (DOH)


202.340.7834
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

MAYOR GRAY CONVENES FIRST MEETING


OF MAYOR’S COMMISSION ON HIV/AIDS
DC Appleseed Releases Sixth Annual Report Card on HIV/AIDS
in the Nation’s Capital

Washington, DC – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today swore in and


convened the first meeting of the Mayor’s Commission on
HIV/AIDS. Mayor Gray created the Commission to help end the
HIV epidemic in the District of Columbia. The Commission will
focus on treatment, the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS, and
prevention to stop new infections.

“I am grateful to all of the community leaders who have agreed


to come together to address the critical epidemic of HIV/AIDS in
the District of Columbia,” said Gray. “By uniting the
government with experts in the field of HIV and respected
members of the community, we can create a comprehensive
approach to treating and ending an epidemic which has affected
our entire city leaving no ward or community untouched.”
At the first meeting, Gray charged the Commission with three core
responsibilities aimed at providing the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD
and TB Administration (HAHSTA) with guidance towards the
development of a strategic plan:

1. Develop evidence-based HIV/AIDS policy recommendations to


help reduce HIV infection rates; increase HIV testing utilization;
improve access to quality medical, substance abuse, mental health
treatment, and housing for all persons with HIV/AIDS; and to
determine the best way to achieve “treatment on demand” in the
District.

2. In concert with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, develop


recommendations regarding coordination of the District‘s
HIV/AIDS Strategy which will include: a) providing
recommendations for public-private partnerships to address the
continuum and capacity of health care delivery, programs, and
related services; and b)providing recommendations regarding
coordination and collaboration across jurisdictional and
international boundaries.

3. Develop recommendations to control the epidemic, while


simultaneously creating training and employment opportunities
within the District.

“In order for us to improve on the progress already made in the


fight against HIV/AIDS, and really make a difference by
decreasing the rate of new infections and improving the care for
our residents living with HIV/AIDS, we must engage the entire
community,” said Dr. Mohammad Akhter, Director of the
Department of Health. “This Commission brings together our
established partners with new organizations to increase the scope,
influence, and impact of our work, so that we can increase our
success in this critical area.”
DC Appleseed Sixth Report Card on HIV/AIDSAs evidence of
Gray’s commitment to making HIV/AIDS a priority of his
Administration, he invited DC Appleseed to present its latest report
card on HIV/AIDS at the first meeting of the Commission. Gray
believes that successful strategies, initiatives, and programs are
based on sound data and research, and DC Appleseed’s report will
be one tool used to help guide the work of the Commission. In
addition to unveiling the grades in the 13 categories on which the
District is rated, the report also recommended HIV/AIDS priorities
for the new Administration. Mayor Gray is the third District of
Columbia Mayor to work with DC Appleseed to improve the
District’s response to HIV/AIDS.

DC Appleseed raised or maintained the District’s grades in


seven areas:
• Condom Distribution improved from a B+ to A-
• Youth Initiatives improved from a B to B+
• Substance Abuse Treatment improved from a B to B+
• HIV Testing remained an A
• HIV/AIDS Among the Incarcerated remained an A
• Interagency Coordinated remained an A-
• Monitoring and Evaluation remained a B-

DC Appleseed decreased the District’s grade in four areas:


• HIV Surveillance went from an A to A-
• Grants Management went from a B+ to B
• Syringe Exchange & Complementary Services went from a B+ to
B
• Leadership went from a B+ to B

Mayor Gray fulfilled two of the report’s five recommendations for


the new Administration within his first two months in office. The
recommendation to make HIV/AIDS a top Administration priority
was addressed in Gray’s inaugural speech, while the
recommendation to engage the entire city in the fight against
HIV/AIDS was addressed when the formation of the Commission
was announced in February.

Mayor’s Commission on HIV/AIDS Members:

Vincent C. Gray, Mayor, Chair


Allen Lew, City Administrator
Beatriz “BB” Otero, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services
Dr. Mohammad Akhter, Director, DOH, Co-Chair
Councilmember David Catania, At-LargeCouncilmember Jim Graham,
Ward 1
Dr. Gregory Pappas, Senior Deputy Director for HAHSTA, Secretariat
Steve Baron, Director, Department of Mental Health (DMH)
Deborah Carroll, Interim Director, Department of Human Services (DHS)
Kaya Henderson, Interim Chancellor, DC Public Schools (DCPS)
Thomas Hoey, Interim Director, Department of Corrections (DOC)Marco
Aguilar, Vice President and Chief of Staff, DC Chamber of Commerce
Jeffrey Akman, Interim Vice Provost for Health Affairs, George
Washington University
Cornelius Baker, National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition
Sharon Baskerville, DC Primary Care Association
Don Blanchon, CEO, Whitman WalkerDr. Frederick Finelli, President,
Medical Society of the District of Columbia
Isaac Fullwood, Chairman, US Parole Commission
Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick, Associate Professor of Medicine, Howard University
Janelle Goetcheus, UNITY Healthcare
Dr. Bruce Rashbaum, Private Practice, Internal Medicine

Additional identified members will be named to the Commission at


a future date once the appointment process is completed.

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