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AIDS efforts in
D.C. remain uneven

AIDS efforts in
D.C. remain uneven

Report card gives low grades for condom programs and substance abuse treatment.

Although health officials in Washington, D.C., have focused more attention on improving HIV prevention, treatment, and care in the wake of a report last year that said the district's AIDS efforts were woefully inadequate, progress remains uneven, The Washington Post reports. The D.C. Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, which reviewed the district's AIDS efforts last year, now says improvements have been made but that condom distribution and substance abuse treatment programs are still inadequate and poorly coordinated.

The Appleseed Center this week issued a report card on several major areas it had identified last year as needing improvement and gave the following grades based on changes over the past year:

Leadership: B-

HIV data collection and management: Incomplete

Surveillance staffing: Incomplete

Grants management: B

Rapid HIV antibody testing: B

Routine HIV antibody testing: C

Condom distribution: D

Public-school HIV programs: B-

Needle exchange services: B-

Substance abuse treatment: D+

Appleseed Center executive director Walter Smith told the Post that the report notes several areas of "forward movement" but adds that not all public officials in the district have fully committed to the AIDS battle, which he says is necessary to slow the spread of HIV in the region.

D.C. health director Gregg Pane says that while he backs the report, he also believes the Appleseed Center gave low grades in some areas. He believes the district should have received a "solid A for effort and a solid B for performance." (The Advocate)

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