Dr. Leana S. Wen: Fast Tracking Baltimore's Fight Against AIDS (Center Maryland)
Thursday Dec 1st, 2016
This week, Baltimore celebrates World AIDS Day, honoring the memories of those lost to HIV/AIDS and recommitting to the fight to eliminate this tragic disease.
For decades, Baltimore City has been on the frontlines of the nation’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. In our City, there are an estimated 13,000 residents diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
For us, HIV/AIDS is not just a health issue—it is one of justice and equity. It also requires innovative, community-driven approaches to save lives.
More than two decades ago, Baltimore became the first jurisdiction in Maryland—and one of the first in the country—to operate a syringe exchange program as a strategy to prevent HIV and other infections among injection drug users. This strategy has proven remarkably effective, as the percentage of people with HIV from intravenous drug use has plummeted from 63 percent in 1994 to 7 percent in 2014.