Washington D. C. utilized the services of Us Helping Us, Safe Haven, MetroTeenAIDS and Llego in order to educate minority populations about HIV/AIDS prevention and this money was used to reach more people (The Rainbow History Project, 23). Another major prevention initiative in Washington D. C. was their condom distribution program. Condom use is a primary prevention measure and therefore more emphasis was placed on these types of programs (Feldblum, et al, 268). Condoms are effective at preventing the spread of HIV (Feldblum, et al, 268) and the condom distribution programs helped enable residents of Washington D. C. gain easy access to free condoms. The Life Guard DC Condom Distribution Program was recently started in an effort to make free condoms available to target populations around the Washington D. C. area (Levine, B01).
This was in response to the slow condom distribution reported in the earlier years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Washington D. C. area. This program was started in the early 2000s in order to help fill the gap that the D. C. Administration for HIV Policy and Programs left with regards to adequate condom distribution (Levine, B01).
Condoms are one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of HIV but they have not always available in all neighborhoods in Washington D. C (Levine, B01). Condom distribution programs were created in order to make condoms available to the people who need them the most. Overall HIV/AIDS Trends in Washington D. C. 1981 – 2004 The number of AIDS cases reported in Washington D. C. rose steadily from the first discovery of AIDS until 1997 when the cases began to decrease without increasing the following year (The Rainbow History Project, 3).
The number of education and policy initiatives is one way that Washington D. C. was able to work towards reducing the instances of new transmissions of the HIV virus. The numbers of new AIDS cases began with 22 in 1983 and rose to 112 in 1984; 284 in 1985; 227 in 1986; 445 in 1987; 504 in 1988; 500 in 1989; 740 in 1990; 727 in 1991; 718 in 1992; 1585 in 1993; 1400 in 1994; 1039 in 1995; and 1258 in 1996 (The Rainbow History Project, 3). The number of newly reported cases began to fall in 1997 and have been steadily decreasing each year since then (The Rainbow History Project, 3).
These trends suggest that the original AIDS epidemic was challenging enough for Washington D. C. to struggle with ways to educate the public about how to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. They also suggest that many of the programs that Washington D. C. implemented helped reduce the number of new transmissions in this area. However, there was a thirty-seven percent increase in new HIV/AIDS cases in Washington D. C. in 2002 when the total number of new cases increased from 686 to 943 (District of Columbia Department of Health, 25). While the number of people in Washington D. C. living with HIV/AIDS increased during the early 2000s, the number of people dying from the disease decreased (District of Columbia Department of Health, 26).
The number of deaths related to HIV/AIDS peaked in 1993 with 742 and continued to decline with only 41 HIV/AIDS related deaths reported in 2002 (District of Columbia Department of Health, 26). Similarly, the prevalence of AIDS as leading cause of death among both men and women declined during the late 1990s (District of Columbia Department of Health, 27). Further, HIV/AIDS affects more males in the Washington D. C. area then females.
In 2004, 75% (6173) of those with HIV/AIDS were male while only 25% (2028) were female (District of Columbia Department of Health, 30). These statistics provide startling evidence regarding the dangerous prevalence of HIV/AIDS among residents in the nation’s capital. Conclusion The original discovery of AIDS was a frightening one and caused Washington D. C. to spring to action in order to educate the public about how to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Researchers quickly discovered that HIV/AIDS was spread through bodily fluids and this became the main way that Washington D. C. public health officials attempted to stop the spread of the virus.
The Whitman-Walker Clinic became the most important resource for citizens of Washington D. C. It enabled those living with HIV/AIDS to get the help and support they needed while also providing education initiatives to the general public in order to make everyone aware of modes of transmission was well as how to avoid transmission. They also implemented needle exchange programs and condom distribution programs designed to stop the spread of the virus.
Overall, these initiatives were effective in reducing the incidences of new cases as well as decreasing the total number of deaths related to HIV/AIDS. However, Washington D. C. has historically had one of the highest AIDS rates in the country so despite the encouraging trends there is still more work to be done in this area of the country. The city continues to learn from past initiatives and educational programs in order to continue to create new ways to educate the public and provide intervention services to those currently living with the disease.
Washington D. C. has come a long way since 1981 and continues to make necessary improvements. Centers for Disease Control. “HIV/AIDS Science. ” Department of Health and Human Services 2006. 25 April 2009 <http://www. cdc. gov/hiv/resources/qa/definitions. htm>. Collins, Chris. HIV/AIDS Surveillance and Reporting in the United States. ” HIV InSite 2001. 25 April 2009 <http://hivinsite. ucsf. edu/InSite? page=kb-08-02-02>. District of Columbia Department of Health. “The HIV/AIDS Epidemiological Profile for the District of Columbia 2004. 25 April 2009
<http://www.dchealth. dc. gov/doh/frames. asp? doc=/doh/lib/doh/services/administration_offices/hiv_aids/pdf/epi_profile_2004. pdf>. Feldblum, P. J. ; Welsh, M. J. & Steiner, M. J. “Don’t Overlook Condoms for HIV Prevention. ” Sexually Transmitted Infections 79. 10 (2003): 268 – 269. Levine, Susan. “The Condoms? Please, Take One. ” The Washington Post Dec 1, 2006. 25 April 2009 <http://www. washingtonpost. com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/30/AR2006113001462. html>. Safaeian, Mahboobeh. “Validity of Self-Reported Needle Exchange Attendance among
Injection Drug Users. American Journal of Epidemiology 155. 2 (2002): 169 – 176. The Kaiser Family Foundation. “The HIV/AIDS Epidemic in the United States. 2008. 25 April 2009 <http://www. kff. org/hivaids/upload/3029-08. pdf>. The Rainbow History Project. “AIDS in the District of Columbia and the U. S. ” 2004. 25 April 2009 <http://www. rainbowhistory. org/AIDShistory. pdf>. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. “A Living History. ” 2009. 25 April 2009 <http://hab. hrsa. gov/livinghistory/timeline/1986-1990/1986. html>.