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Groundbreaking Assessment, Report Cards

DC Appleseed’s HIV/AIDS Project began when Washington, DC had the highest HIV infection rate in the country. After nearly 20 years of collaboration with the DC government and the Washington AIDS Partnership (WAP), we can finally look forward to ending this terrible epidemic in DC.

DC Appleseed first began its HIV Project in 2003 when a local consortium of funders known as the Washington AIDS Partnership proposed an assessment of the District government’s response to the HIV epidemic. The DC government, led by then-Mayor Anthony Williams, subsequently pledged its support of DC Appleseed and WAP’s analysis. Two years later, we issued a groundbreaking report that included an analysis of how DC government agencies were addressing the epidemic and recommendations for improving the government’s response in 2005.  


The report was followed up with nine annual report cards, grading the District’s progress in handling the epidemic in particular areas that needed attention, from testing to housing. DC Appleseed’s report cards, which were released at public events where the Mayor and city officials were present, proved to be an effective way of motivating government agencies to improve their performance. We have also been a member of the DC Syringe Access Working Group, convened by the Washington AIDS Partnership to address policy challenges regarding syringe access and complementary services in the District of Columbia. 

The District has come a long way since 2005, and so have medicine and science. We now have the tools to “end the epidemic” by preventing new infections and ensuring people living with HIV have access to treatment and care. In 2016, we partnered with the Department of Health and Mayor Muriel Bowser to issue a strategic plan to end the HIV epidemic in the District by 2020. In 2019, when it became clear that the District was not on track to meet the plan’s goals, DC Appleseed provided an analysis to determine how the DC government could accelerate its progress in fighting AIDS. Our analysis led to several recommendations which the District government has adopted. They include addressing social and economic conditions that affect access to care, increasing access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP, and providing greater outreach to at-risk populations, particularly those not traditionally connected to DC Health providers or community-based organizations.

Development of Plan To End Epidemic

We also worked with Mayor Bowser, the DC Department of Health and the Washington AIDS Partnership on the development of a new DC Ends HIV plan. Our new plan has ambitious goals for 2030: 95% of DC residents infected with HIV will know their status, 95% of those diagnosed will be in treatment, 95% of those in treatment will reach viral load suppression, and there will be fewer than 130 new diagnoses per year. HIV/AIDS has been a formidable challenge for our city for nearly 40 years, but we can finally look forward to the end of this epidemic.

2030--Target Date for Ending HIV/AIDS Epidemic in DC

As shared in the Washington Post on 01/03/2024, DC has much progress to make. Click to see our mention here:


Staff Contact:

Vanessa Batters-Thompson

Neil Richardson

Pro Bono Partners:

Hogan Lovells US LLP

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton

& Garrison LLP

Milbank LLP

The AIDS Quilt is a memorial to and celebration

of the lives of people lost to AIDS.

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