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Catalogue Blog

In The News …

Hospital Team Works To Keep Kids With HIV Healthy (WAMU): “In 2005, 6% of all babies in the United States born with HIV were from Washington, DC. But there’s been some progress; there hasn’t been a baby born with HIV in the District since 2009 because of better screening and medical advances. That’s because if a mother who’s HIV positive takes her medications regularly, there’s a less than 1% chance of the virus being transmitted. But it isn’t easy taking several pills every day, even as an adult.” As Dr. Lawrence D’Angelo reports, “… we have a lot of young people will end up succumbing to this illness, if not during their teenage years, certainly during their adult years, unless we can get them to be adherent to medications.” Similarly, educating at-risk teens about the transmission of HIV, and all sexually transmitted diseases, is both critical and challenging.

Baker moves to take a more active role in Prince George’s schools (Washington Post: Local): “With the 123,000-student system in search of a superintendent and a majority of seats on the school board up for election in the fall, Baker is positioning himself to take a greater role in county schools [...] Baker, who realizes that good schools are key to the county?s prosperity, has staked a lot on improving the school system, telling residents to “judge this administration” on what happens with the schools.” In general, the county executive has relatively little non-financial control over his region’s system — when compared, say, to the mayors of DC or Philadelphia — and not all constituents agree with his particular approach. For Baker, “improving schools a key component of his economic development and overall agenda.”

What could DC do to encourage diversity in schools? (Greater Greater Washington): “If diversity is a worthwhile goal for DC schools, but the numbers are moving in the opposite direction, what could DC do?” In his final element of a four-part series, David Alpert (founder of GGW) argues that “there are essentially 2 ways to include out-of-boundary, poorer children in the most exclusive public schools: make the schools bigger, and entice some in-boundary families to go elsewhere.” For example, many of the cities most desirable magnet programs are located in the same geographical areas as those more exclusive schools — so could some of those programs be moved eastward? To repeat Alpert’s final question, “what steps do you think DC could take to foster diversity while also maintaining and even increasing the educational quality of its schools?” Start with part of the series here.

Testing Day

Today marks National HIV Testing Day and, as the Post reported last night, “DC clinics and health groups have organized testing sites across the city and hope to reach out to a large swath of the community. encourages people to get tested in an effort to help identify those who have the disease so they can receive treatment and prevent transmission.”

A June 15 Post article pointed out that, while the number of new cases has dropped significantly (nearly 50%) in the past two years, “the number of District residents living with HIV or AIDS remains high enough to rate as an epidemic.” A recent survey by the Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that “more than a third of city residents single out HIV/AIDS — first identified 30 years ago — as the city’s biggest health concern.” And with reason. More than 3% of DC residents over the age of 12 are HIV positive and well over half of the population “say someone they know has the disease or has died of it,” compared to 41% nationwide.

Whitman-Walker Health has offered testing around the city for the past week and will offer extended testing hours tomorrow, from 9 AM to 7 PM. Says Dr. Raymond Martins, chief medical officer at Whitman-Walker: “Last week’s report from the DC Department of Health showed that more than three percent of adults in DC have been diagnosed with HIV. However, an additional two-three percent may also be infected but hasn’t been diagnosed. That is why it’s so important.”

Catalogue non-profit Metro TeenAIDS also offers testing all week (at a range of hours) at at 651 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. MTA works to prevent the spread of HIV through youth leadership teams and in-school health education — because knowledge is one of the best ways to ensure that the number of new cases keeps on dropping.