July 18, 2003
Injection Drug Use, Access to Care
The district's high AIDS incidence rate is associated with the city's high rate of injection drug use and may point to problems with access to health care, according to national health officials. Weston said that his research shows that cities in the Northeast and the South had the highest AIDS incidence rates, which he said is highly correlated with injection drug use. A needle-exchange program is "severely needed" in the district to address the problem of injection drug use and HIV transmission, according to Michael Cover, a spokesperson for the Whitman-Walker Clinic, a Washington, D.C.-based health organization. The city ran its own needle-exchange program prior to 1998, when Congress prohibited the district from using locally raised tax money to support the program, an action that Cover called "simply shameful." In addition, Floyd Nelson, a spokesperson for the D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration, said that African Americans, who account for 61% of the city's population, represent almost 80% of all new AIDS cases. "Studies from national data show us that if you're African-American, you're less likely to be treated sooner," Tom Coates, director of the University of California-San Francisco AIDS Research Institute, said, adding that the findings suggest "that those infected with HIV in D.C. ... are not getting the medical care that they should be getting" (Washington Post, 7/17).
kaisernetwork.org's HealthCast will webcast select sessions of the National HIV Prevention Conference. Additional information regarding the conference and the sessions to be webcast is available online.
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2003 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.