The District's AIDS Handicap
The article on the DC Appleseed Center's report on the District's rising rate of HIV-AIDS ["D.C. Faulted for Weak Response to AIDS Crisis," Metro, Aug. 10] did not mention one difficulty in controlling the epidemic: the federal ban on D.C.-funded needle-exchange programs.
The Appleseed report addressed this problem, noting that the only needle exchange operating, a privately funded program run by PreventionWorks, reaches less than one-third of the roughly 9,700 intravenous drug users in the District. It also said that exchange programs "receiving government funding are more effective at reducing HIV transmission" than privately funded programs.
The D.C. Appleseed report underscored that we must use all the tools at our disposal to fight HIV-AIDS in the District. It should serve as a spur not only to fighting the needle-exchange ban but to demanding once again that Congress stop interfering in our local affairs.
The writer is a member of the Stand Up for Democracy in D.C. Coalition.