Failing the sick in an ailing city

While the sick languished in alleyways and on park benches in the city with the nation's highest AIDS rate, D.C. government allowed widespread waste and mismanagement to overwhelm the city's AIDS services. A three-part documentary explores some of these groups and the lives impacted by a lack of care. Watch Video »

Latest in the series

Needle exchange programs short of money

Clients are turned away as agency struggles with payroll, supplies.


A closer look at groups

[DC Map]

A breakdown of where the money went, highlighting questionable spending throughout the city.

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The Series
Part 1

Epidemic failure

One in three of D.C.ís AIDS dollars earmarked for small groups went to organizations marked by financial problems and questionable services.

Part 2

A house of miracles

An in-depth look at Miracle Hands, an AIDS group plagued by service and cost complaints but still awarded $4.5 million.

Part 3

'OK to pay'

City paid felon to supply HIV/AIDS services despite vague business records.

Part 4

Funds bypass needy areas

Only a fraction of AIDS funds for small groups went to Wards 7 and 8, with some of D.C.'s highest infection rates.

Photo Gallery
D.C. HIV/AIDS Joseph's House
D.C.'s AIDS groups care for more patients with less money, even as funds go missing.
Video & Audio
Leshelle Hicks Joseph's House
Leshelle Hicks came to Joseph's House hospice to die. Today, she believes the program saved her life.
"I have been innovative"
Former AIDS Housing Chief defends her work in a Washington Post audio interview.
Debra Rowe
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Live Q & A

Post reporter Debbie Cenziper answered reader questions in an online conversation Monday, Oct. 19th at 11 a.m. Read the transcript.

Reader Response

Share your experiences

Are you a staff member, volunteer, or patient at these or other area AIDS organizations? Share your experiences in a comment or send them to us at investigations@washpost.com.

About this Investigation

Over ten months, the Washington Post analyzed the spending, services, and finances of every specialized AIDS organization funded by D.C.'s HIV/AIDS Administration from 2004-2008, an estimated 90 groups, building a database from tax returns, audits, lawsuits, real estate records, D.C. Council records, and corporate and police reports. The Post also obtained grant agreements, invoices and government correspondence for about 60 of these groups. The newspaper also tracked the funding and location of all specialized AIDS groups that received grants through 2009 to determine how much money was spent in hard-hit wards east of the Anacostia River.

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