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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

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Norton to Speak at Washington Post Forum on Combating HIV/AIDS, Tuesday

Dec 4, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will participate in a forum hosted by the Washington Post, entitled “Pathways to Progress: Combating the HIV/AIDS Epidemic,” tomorrow, Tuesday, December 5, 2017, at 9:30 a.m., at the Washington Post headquarters (1301 K St. NW).  Norton will serve on a panel entitled “Crisis Response: Views from the Policy and Advocacy Community,” along with Jesse Milan, Jr., President and CEO, AIDS United, and Phill Wilson, President and CEO, Black AIDS Institute.

Norton has played a unique role in combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the District of Columbia.  From 1998 – 2007, Congress used its jurisdiction over the District to ban only D.C. from using its local funds for needle exchange programs, escalating the HIV/AIDS rate in D.C. above comparable jurisdictions and leading to the deaths of thousands of D.C. residents.  In 2007, Norton was successful in removing the deadly needle exchange rider.  Since then, the number of newly diagnosed HIV cases attributable to injection drug use has fallen by 95 percent, from 149 cases in 2007 to seven cases in 2016.  To help make up for the years of needle exchange local funds ban, Norton has been able to annually secure a $5 million federal payment to combat HIV/AIDS in D.C., including in the House and Senate fiscal year 2018 D.C. appropriations bills, in addition to funding through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS, which is available to every jurisdiction.

“The congressionally-imposed needle exchange ban left the District with a uniquely high HIV/AIDS epidemic, from which the city is beginning to show genuine recovery,” Norton said.  “Relieved of this unnecessary burden, progress in preventing new cases and providing enhanced treatment has made the District an example for others to follow.  Congress still needs to do more to help localities provide life-saving preventative care, as well as support the Affordable Care Act’s success in reducing the number of uninsured Americans through Medicaid expansion.”