HIV Bills Moving Swiftly in D.C.

Catania legislation aims to increase educational efforts for health professionals and senior citizens

Two bills designed to increase awareness and promote a dialogue on HIV/AIDS between patients and service providers are closer to becoming law after being passed on consent – meaning without any objections – during a first reading of the bills before the full City Council April 17.

The bills, introduced by Councilmember David Catania (I-At Large), seek to expand HIV/AIDS education in the medical and senior citizen communities in hopes of combating the District’s high HIV/AIDS rates. Brendan Williams-Kief, a spokesman for Catania, said that Catania’s office expects both bills will pass unanimously on the bills’ second reading.

”Taken together, these bills will continue to put the District at the forefront of combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” Catania said in a prepared statement. ”Over the past several years, the District has made tremendous strides in the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS. Social marketing campaigns, condom distribution efforts and other outreach programs have contributed significantly to the 28 percent reduction in new HIV/AIDS cases that the District experienced between 2008 and 2009.”

The first bill, the ”HIV/AIDS Continuing Medical Education Act of 2011,” would require any continuing-education requirements for doctors, nurses or physicians assistants include three credits of instruction on HIV/AIDS, covering impact on populations of different ages and racial and ethnic backgrounds. Such training would also teach health providers about the risk of HIV infection, how to discuss HIV/AIDS with patients and how to monitor patients for potential exposure to the disease.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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