(WASHINGTON, DC) — Today Mayor Vincent C. Gray showed his support for National HIV Testing Day by getting an HIV test at one of the District’s most comprehensive medical clinics. Bread for the City opened the doors of its newly expanded and renovated primary care center, located at 1525 7th Street NW, to the Mayor, DC Department of Health officials and District residents interested in receiving HIV testing.
Mayor Gray took an oral HIV test, administered by Department of Health (DOH) Director Dr. Mohammad Akhter.
“It is so important for each and every resident who is sexually active to know their status, to use the over 20 community-based organizations in our city to get tested for HIV and to protect themselves and the ones they love from becoming infected,” said Mayor Gray. “I am pleased to be able to partner with Bread for the City as we highlight the importance of HIV testing, and remind everyone that although National HIV Testing Day is imperative to raise awareness, the fact of the matter is that every day in the District should be National HIV Testing Day, not just June 27.”
Mayor Gray also used opportunity to speak on the most recent congressional proposal to strip the District’s use of local funds to support needle-exchange programs in the city. This news comes only a week after the release of the city’s fourth epidemiology report on HIV/AIDS, which highlighted how critical the District’s community-based needle exchanges have been in helping to reduce HIV transmission among active injection drug users.
The District’s latest HIV/AIDS Update noted that 3.2 percent of the city’s population is currently living with HIV/AIDS. The report also indicates that nearly 1 in 5 persons living with HIV in the District contracted it through intravenous drug use. Additionally, in 2010, DC increased HIV testing, supporting 110,000 tests. The city has improved in connecting more than 75 percent of those testing positive with HIV with care and treatment within three months of their HIV diagnosis and has made steady strides in providing injection drug users with clean needles.
Select the following links to upload and read DOH’s District of Columbia HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Epidemiology Report 2010 Update* and Injection Drug Use: IDUs and HIV Infection in DC*. To find a free HIV testing center near you, visit doh.dc.gov.