WASHINGTON—Washington, D.C., a city with one of the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the United States, will soon be home to a new Development Center for AIDS Research (D-CFAR) funded by a $3 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH).
The center’s mission is to promote HIV/AIDS research and develop the next generation of investigators in Washington.
“The establishment of the developmental CFAR in Washington, D.C., is a major step forward in our ability to confront the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our nation’s capital,” said Dr. Greenberg, George Washington (GW) University professor of Entomology and leader of the project in an NIH press release.
The proposal, which earned the NIH grant, was developed by researchers from GW, Children’s National Medical Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Howard University and the D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center, as well as numerous community-based clinics throughout Washington, D.C.
In March 2009, the Washington Post reported on a city study, which found that 3 percent of district residents were infected with HIV or AIDs, up 22 percent from 2006. However, the figures released by the D.C. Department of Health in March 2010 showed a 33 percent decrease in new AIDS infections from 2004 to 2008. This may partially be attributed to increased HIV testing and faster diagnoses and treatment, so that HIV infected people get treatment, which slows the development of AIDS.
There are 20 centers for AIDS Research in the United States.
While the new CFAR will focus on HIV/AIDS research and development in the district, Mayor Fenty and the D.C. Department of Health (DOH) have pledged to promote, prevent, and protect the district and lead the fight against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
They will promote by increasing the number of people tested with the “Ask for the Test” campaign. The goal is increasing routine HIV testing through collaboration with medical health providers. They will prevent by increasing free voluntary STD screening for youth. The commitments of Mayor Fenty and the DOH were stated in a letter from Pierre N.D. Vigilance, director of the D.C. Department of Health.
“The district is leading the fight against the most complex HIV/AIDS epidemic in the nation, and we welcome this first-time opportunity for D.C. to attract the best and brightest scientists to join us,” said Mayor Fenty in an NIH press release.