Morning Read: DC Takes Lessons From Africa to Fight HIV at Home - NBC4 Washington
First Read
Your first stop for politics in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

Morning Read: DC Takes Lessons From Africa to Fight HIV at Home



    Here’s a startling statistic: If D.C. were a nation in Africa, it would rank 23rd out of 54 countries for the percentage of people with HIV.

    It would have a higher rate than the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia and 28 other African countries.

    With 3 percent of adults HIV positive -- and 7 percent of African-American men -- D.C. has the highest rate of adults with HIV in the United States.

    PBS has a great long-read on how city officials and activists have worked to fight HIV in the nation’s capital.

    D.C. will host the International AIDS Conference next month for a surprising reason: It has learned from the fight against AIDS in Africa, PBS reports:

    District leaders often reject any comparison involving AIDS between Washington and an African country because it implies that largely African-American communities here are on par with the developing world. But several leaders of the District’s AIDS fight say the link is apt in this specific instance because the African experience has informed Washington’s response.

    “I think under the surface [Africa's lessons] are something people don’t like to talk about. But... it is just such a model that has allowed us to get where we are,” said A. Toni Young, director of the Community Education Group, which oversees several AIDS prevention projects. "...We’ve made this investment to Africa for a reason. We wanted to save lives. We learned from Africa about treatment and treatment adherence."

    The turning point came with a simple decision: Learn the epidemic. For years, the District had failed to do in-depth surveillance of the AIDS epidemic and had perceived it as a problem largely limited to the gay community and injectable drug users. But new data uncovered a new reality: AIDS was centered in the African-American community, infiltrating the general population of heterosexual couples. Nearly 7 percent of all African-American men in the district are HIV positive.

    Read the full article here.

    * A sixth casino in Maryland would be economically viable and could result in as much as $161 million in revenue to the state, analysts from the Department of Legislative Services and PricewaterhouseCoopers said Tuesday.

    The study, according to the Baltimore Sun, discounted concerns that a sixth casino, proposed for Prince George's County, would draw too much business away from others at Arundel Mills and in downtown Baltimore.

    In fact, existing casinos, which are now limited to slot machines, could have a higher net revenue with the addition of table games.

    These state revenue projections are far from certain. They also don't reflect the desire of the developers of the National Harbor casino site to take a cut in the slots tax to help them finance the luxurious “destination casino,” the Sun reports.

    * As expected, Senate hopeful George Allen won in a landslide against his three GOP primary competitors Tuesday.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Rep. Jim Moran also won their primary elections Tuesday. Read more here.

    * On Election Day, Senate hopeful Tim Kaine -- who faced no Democratic competitors -- attended an event in Hampton Roads as part of his current statewide campaign tour.

    Kaine said Tuesday that electing Allen would be a step backward for the country. Via the Washington Times:

    “I think it’s sort of whether we continue to embrace newly innovative strategies... in the nation or whether we go back to strategies [that haven’t worked],” he said, pointing to his platform of investing in infrastructure and winning the “talent race” through education.

    “I think George’s primary economic strategy was demonstrated on the first day of the campaign when he took the Grover Norquist tax pledge,” Mr. Kaine said. “We’ve seen this movie before. We’ve seen what happens with these tax cuts at the top. We tried that, it didn’t work. His proposals would do the same kind of thing.”

    * The Washingtonian has a small profile on “arguably the city’s most powerful leader” -- DC US Attorney Ron Machen.

    * The Roanoke Times editorial board questions whether Gov. McDonnell should have given the Washington Redskins $4 million in public funds for the team to keep its headquarters and practice facilities in Virginia.

    McDonnell argues that $4 million is a small price to keep an estimated $200 million worth of economic activity in the state.

    That works out to 2 percent. If that is the going rate, what other businesses will line up for state subsidies? Will an adult book store in Northern Virginia that estimates its economic activity at $500,000 receive $10,000 if it threatens to move into Maryland?

    Of course not. The state considers the type of business and its financial wherewithal, not just the economic benefit. Sports aren't porn, but they no more deserve public subsidies.

    Meanwhile, there will be $4 million less for transportation, education and the real core services the state should provide. A business-friendly commonwealth would have roads that are not congested and well-funded schools that provide quality education.

    The decision is made. McDonnell now owes taxpayers a better accounting of just what fiscal benefit will accrue from keeping the team. State auditors should present an annual report of just how much documented economic activity and taxes came from the team. Good vibrations and team spirit do not count.

    * Virginia Senate hopeful Tim Kaine announced today that he has accepted eight broadcast debate invitations to date for the U.S. Senate general election campaign. Two of the debates are in Northern Virginia.

    On Sept. 14, WJLA-TV, Politico and Virginia FREE will sponsor a debate at George Mason University’s Arlington campus. The debate will be broadcast live on WJLA in D.C. and available to ABC affiliates throughout Virginia.

    On Sept. 20, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and NBC4 will sponsor a debate at Capital One Tysons Corner Complex in McLean. The event will be broadcast live on NBC4.