C. Mayor Adrian Fenty made HIV / AIDS the most important public health priority (Greenberg et al., 2009). Funding from the CDC allowed for a partnership between the D.C. Department of Health's HIV / AIDS Administration and the George Washington University School of Public Health and Healthy Services, which was responsible for the Epidemiology Annual Report for 2007 -- the first to be published for D.C. since 2002 (Greenberg et al., 2009). The Department of Health also initiated a routine HIV screening campaign to help provide testing resources and lower stigma, titled "Come Together DC -- Get Screened for HIV" (Greenberg et al., 2009).
Efforts to address the epidemic in D.C. included a combination of increased resource availability and educational services as offered by public health departments. The "Come Together DC -- Get Screened for HIV" campaign provided approximately 73,000 tests in 2008, which was a 70% testing increase from 2007 (Greenberg et al., 2009). The success of the campaign is attributed to the promotion of routine HIV testing in medical tests that did not require separate written informed consent or an "opt out" option. Another preventative measure arose from the information attained by the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance system, whose research indicated people have difficulty understanding HIV risk within their relationships (Greenberg et al., 2009). The research showed that less than one-third of heterosexuals in the D.C. at-risk communities used a condom the last time they had sex, and only half were aware of their partner's HIV status (Greenberg et al., 2009). Due to the research findings, social marketing efforts were geared towards making better decisions in relationships and condom use. Washington D.C. also became the second U.S. city (after New York) to initiate a public-sector condom distribution program; 115,000 condoms were distributed in 2006, 1.3 million in 2007, and 1.5 million in 2008 (Greenberg et al., 2009). In addition to prevention, D.C. primary HIV care has been provided to numerous clinical settings, such as academic medical centers and community-based clinics, to promote and administer HIV treatment (Greenberg et al., 2009). Addressing the HIV / AIDS epidemic in Washington D.C. has been an extensive, complex, and thorough exercise in preventative measures and proper treatment.
In the last twenty years, Americans have grown significantly in their support of civil rights for the LGBT population. Although attitudes are increasingly becoming more accepting of the LGBT population in the U.S., there is still a considerable amount of Americans who regard homosexuality as morally wrong and as an unacceptable lifestyle. Recent studies support that certain socio-demographic factors can be predictors of attitudes towards homosexuals. According to one study, an individual's adherence to gender roles and personal experiences with gays and lesbians were the two greatest predictors of attitude towards homosexuals (Brown & Henriquez, 2008). The prevalence of HIV / AIDS in the U.S. is often related to the LGBT community; according to the CDC, men who have sex with men account for only 2% of the population, but represent 61% of new HIV infections (CDC HIV Fact sheet, 2011). The CDC reports that MSM account for 49% of the 1.2 million people estimated to be living with HIV in the U.S. (CDC HIV Fact sheet, 2011).
The nation's capital, Washington D.C., has the highest prevalence of HIV, and the city's prevalence rate of HIV / AIDS, 3%, is comparable to Nigeria and the Congo (Greenberg et al., 2009). The independent organization, DC Appleseed, investigated the local public health and policy response to the capital's HIV epidemic in 2005, and discovered several insufficient and inadequate policies and their failed execution to be main contributors to the local epidemic (Greenberg et al., 2009). To address the HIV / AIDS local epidemic, HIV testing was made a part of routine medical procedure, educational materials have been released to educate about at-risk relationships, more than 3 millions condoms were distributed, and HIV treatment capability has been expanded to academic and community health centers. Combating the local epidemic in Washington D.C. has required a combined effort in education material and medical service expansion.
Brown, M., & Henriquez, E. (2008). Socio-demographic predictors of attitudes towards gays and lesbians. Individual Differences Research, 6(3), 193-202.
CDC HIV Fact sheet. (2011, November 07). HIV in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/us.htm
CDC Fact sheet. (2011, September). HIV and AIDS among gay and bisexual men. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/fastfacts-msm-final508comp.pdf
Greenberg, A., Hader, S., Masur, H., Young, A., Skillicorn, J., & Dieffenbach, C. (2009). Fighting HIV / AIDS in washington,…