Washington, D.C., HIV/AIDS Administration Has ‘Long Way To Go’ To ‘Gain Confidence of City Residents,’ Editorial Says
The HIV/AIDS Administration in Washington, D.C., has "underreported AIDS deaths each year for the past decade, sometimes intentionally, to keep the public from knowing how serious the epidemic really is," a Washington Times editorial says, adding that the administration with CDC "recently discovered it underreported AIDS-related deaths by 54% -- 1,337 cases -- between 2000 and 2005." According to the editorial, the administration, as well as its "parent Health Department, had been plagued with deficiencies in leadership, constant director changes and staffing problems throughout the administration for former" Mayor Anthony Williams. In addition, the "absence of real data on HIV/AIDS deaths has led to untold millions of dollars wasted or devoted to supposedly targeted prevention and treatment programs with no bull's eye," the editorial says, adding that the "entire district has been receiving millions less in federal funding and grants than it needed to attack this problem; while the AIDS rates continue to soar, and people who need treatment go unserved."
The editorial says, "Enter Dr. Shannon Hader," who became the administration's director in 2007. According to the editorial, D.C. Primary Care Association Director Sharon Baskerville said that Hader is the "first person there who understands the need for electronic data and the first truly competent person who, with an aggressive approach, has worked to make the data real." The administration is "issuing a new updated report this month with the new numbers," the editorial says, concluding, "It's a start, but this agency has a long way to go before it can gain the confidence of city residents" (Washington Times, 2/17).