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June 5, 2009

DC Officials Commit to Increasing HIV/AIDS Awareness

Amid criticism from Washington, DC, residents and activists, the city’s HIV/AIDS Administration (HAA) insists that it is working on a social marketing campaign to increase HIV/AIDS awareness, The Washington Post reports.

According to an HAA report, the district has the worst HIV prevalence rate of the nation with 3 percent of its population living with the virus. Shannon L. Hader, the HAA’s director, estimates that the actual rate is about 5 percent since researchers don’t count people who are infected but untested.

In response to the severe infection rate, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s administration has committed to give $500,000 annually for five years for a citywide marketing campaign. But with the rising cost of advertising, Hader insists, broader marketing efforts will require more millions of dollars and free public service announcements.

“This should not be simply a public-health effort,” Hader said. “This should be a community effort helped by the folks who have the space.”

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