Baltimore Sun (11.29.11) - Tuesday, November 29, 2011
A plan to cut new HIV infections in Baltimore by 25 percent by
2015 is being presented today to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-
Blake. Developed by the City Commission on HIV/AIDS Prevention
and Treatment, the plan aligns with the overall Baltimore
Health Department and National HIV/AIDS strategies.
Priorities include expanding needle-exchange programs;
promoting HIV testing at primary care doctors' offices;
aggressive efforts to diagnose people before they are sick;
and increasing serostatus awareness, patients who are in care
within three months of diagnosis, and those continuing their
treatment. The goals emphasize increasing the proportion of
HIV-infected gay and bisexual men, African Americans, and
Hispanics whose virus is controlled - decreasing the
likelihood of further transmission.
Targeted outreach will include tapping churches to reach at-
risk populations, as well as contacting people at gay bars and
sex clubs, schools, senior centers, and prisons.
"One of the main barriers has been a lack of a road map, a
strategic plan to guide the city's response and promote
collaboration between the various city agencies, the state,
community groups, and citizens who are impacted," said Dr.
William A. Blattner, the commission's chair.
Lacking new funding, the commission will promote coordination
of some $6 million to $7 million annually spent on outreach
and education, and about $20 million for treatment. City
Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot is expected to announce
today a new assistant commissioner position that would be
charged with overseeing the strategy, handling the budget,
coordinating agencies, and program oversight.