Regarding the June 21 Metro story “HIV is top health concern in District”:
Figures released last week by the D.C. Department of Health show that the District has made a dent in reducing new cases of HIV/AIDS. However, there is still an alarming reality that isn’t being addressed as publicly: Our data, based on the self-reported HIV status of our clients, suggest that homeless women in this region are nearly 150 percent more likely to suffer from the disease than the general population. There are solutions for the underlying issues that cause this disparity — issues including domestic violence, trauma and substance abuse — and they’re being addressed by some local nonprofits.
Thanks to recent funding from Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States and individual supporters, N Street Village and Miriam’s House have pooled their resources to ensure that HIV/AIDS treatment for homeless and low-income women goes beyond medication and into the realm of full-service support.
Washington will host the International AIDS Conference in 2012. If the measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members, then we have an obligation to better address infection rates, treatment options and the overall health of homeless women before our turn in the global AIDS spotlight.
Schroeder Stribling and Sam Collins, Washington
The writers, respectively, are executive director of N Street Village, which helps homeless and low-income women, and executive director of Miriam’s House, a residential community for women with HIV.