♪ ♪ ♪ good sunday morning, on october 24th, thousands of walkers and runners will lace up their shoes and converge on fred om plaza for the annual 5k walk to end hiv, the annual walk raises funds for the hiv programs and services of whitman walker health which provides care to those infected with or affected by hiv and aids. joining us this morning are shawn jain, who is director of communication for whitman walker health and dwayne lawson-brown, whitman walker's youth health educator. welcome to both of you. >> thank you. >> shawn, until last year, the event was aids walk washington. last year you changed the name. because you changed the focus.
>> absolutely. we were the first walk in the country to change our name from aids walk to the walk to end hiv. and it's because hiv has been with us now for over three decades. but we're not in the same place now, thankfully that we were even ten years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago. it used to be that aids equals death. now hiv is a chronic condition, people living with hiv who are on treatment can live just as long as someone who is not hiv infected. and there's so much stigma around the term "aids." and there's so much kind of misinformation still about aids. that we wanted to emphasize that language is important, it's important that we talk about this as hiv as a chronic condition. yes, it's serious. yes, everyone should get tested. yes, you should be on treatment if you are hiv positive. but it's not the same sort of death sentence that it once was. and that's why we really felt it was so important to move away from the term "aids" and focus
on ending hiv. >> dwayne, would you say that the erasing of that stigma, the association with death has actually in some ways hurt the effort to spread the word and to keep people vigilant? >> well, i don't think that it's necessarily hurt. but i think a lot of folks still aren't paying attention. there's tons of information and resources available. it's just that folks don't think of hiv as something they really need to worry about. >> any more. >> not any more, unfortunately. >> that's why you see so much hiv, the hiv rates increasing among younger people. you know, people are complacent. they don't realize necessarily that this is still an issue that's affecting people. and that's why we've seen them in the district of columbia, the majority of new hiv cases is among young people. nationally as well, especially younger gay and bisexual men of color. and that's why, that's a huge area of focus for us. is making sure that people
realize they still need to take precautions. yes, if you get infected, there's wonderful treatments that are out there. but it's something that you have to live with for the rest of your life. so it's better to not get it. >> if you look at the numbers the last year you have figures for was 2013. >> correct. >> that year, there was significant progress noted by the, reflected in the numbers, new infections fell 40%. that's huge. and represents a huge turn-around from where d.c. was just a few years before that. >> absolutely. we've had three mayors in a row, including our current administration, really focused on hiv. we've had you know organizations like whitman walker doing a much better job of reaching out to people, distributing more condoms, doing more testing in the community. and i think the biggest thing is making sure that people who are hiv positive are engaged in care. because we know that people who are hiv positive, if they're in treatment, their chances of transmitting the virus to others are almost zero.
so all of these factors combined have led to this dramatic progress that we've seen here in d.c. and one of the new options that we have that we have, about 40 new people at whitman walker starting every single month, is prep. preexposure prophylaxis. this is a quick book we have on p.r.e.p. a daily pill can you take to prevent hiv. if you take the pill every single day, your chances of getting the virus are almost zero. for a long time it was condoms, condoms have been around for almost forever. p.r.e.p. is a pill you can take and we're seeing more and more patients choose this as an option. that's so important, because people should be taking all the preventive options they need to protect themselves. >> and the mayor, you mentioned three mayors, the current mayor wants to complete ha she call as 90-90-90-50 rate. we're going to take a break and then i want you to explain what
the 90-90-90-50 is. you're watching "viewpoint" and we'll be right back. thank you so much. did you say honey? hey, try some? mmm that is tasty. is it real? of course... are you? nope animated you know i'm always looking for real honey for honey nut cheerios well you've come to the right place. great, mind if i have another taste? not at all mmm you're all right bud? never better i don't know if he likes that. yeah part of the complete breakfast
welcome back, we're talking about the walk to end hiv this morning. and shawn and dwayne, the mayor wants to complete ha she calls the 90-90-90-50 plan. explain that. >> yeah, so what the goal is to have 90% of people who are living with hiv know their status. 90% of people who are living with hiv be engaged in care. or on treatment. 90% of those people to have achieved viral suppression. which means that they have very low levels of virus in the blooddream. their infection is under control. and to reduce the number of new
diagnoses by 50%. >> by 2020. >> by 2020. >> how realistic is that, do you think, dwayne? >> i believe if we stay on this trajectory, it is realistic. we are doing a lot to help people know how to prevent hiv and to connect people to care. so we're taking the right steps. and we have seen it done. san francisco, a place very similar to d.c. in size, in infection. and they've, they see this dramatic reduction of the rates over there. we can do it here. >> earlier this year, dwayne, walker expanded its collaboration with metro teen aids, tell bus that. >> metro teen aids and whitman walker health looked at d.c. and said how can we best reach everyone? so we, formerly metro teen aids, we looked at d.c. as a place where we can he had indicate youth and we knee how we were doing it right. whitman walker health, same thing for adults. we decided to collaborate more
robustly, connect folks to mental health care. connecting folks to full medical and dental. and then expanding our hiv services. and so it's a great partnership. >> absolutely. we just talked about how youth is the majority of new cases in d.c. we as a health center for us to partner with an organization that has over 25 years of experience working with youth, specifically on this issue, on sexual health, generally, made sense on every single level. so for us to be able to provide the youth clients, the youth patients that metro teen aids has been seeing for decades, the kinds of wrap-around services that otherwise they may be headed for elsewhere, it's great. and it helps make sure that we're providing the holistic level of services to these folks. >> the city has come so far in the last decade. part of the reason, dwayne, is the education in schools. >> yes, indeed. we've been working with nurses, within schools as well as all the health teachers, to train them to be able to provide
curriculum and talk about sexual health in a way that they may not have been able to in the past. >> and now there's mandatory training. >> uh-huh. >> the curriculum includes mandatory training. >> mandatory training for all of the health students, as well as some students who are greatly invested in sexual health. they become peer educators within the schools and they're able to distribute condoms and distribute information to their fellow students. >> in the african-american community and in the young african-american community, it's still, still very stubborn. so east of the anacostia, you talked before the show, before we went on the air, about the stigma. and then there are issues in the black community, stigma. there's a stigma in the black community. there's also fear and there's isolation. talk about how that's become a challenge, persistent challenge, really. >> for my experience, we're a community that talks about sex, but we don't talk about issues around sex. so we'll talk about you know,
things that we're doing, but we won't say, hey, maybe i need to protect myself. hey, maybe being high and all these things could be, could affect my sexual decisions. and so we are working to increase the conversation. especially with youth. we have a conversation that happens on the last thursday of each month that's very candid. geared around sexual health for teenagers, called sex, milk and cookies. we try to keep it fun. we try to keep it engaging. but at the same time, very informative. so folks can leave saying if i remember one thing, i need to know about p.r.e.p., or about condom use consistently. >> ten years ago there was information all over billboards, buses. everywhere you went, you saw the message there in front of your face. has metro's ban on issue advertising blocked the hiv awareness campaign? and is the city's message still
getting out there as effectively as it was once? >> i think it is. i think that, that still is, i think it just means the message may be has to be maybe not as, as risque as we might want or we may think that a certain kind of message targeted to a certain population might be better. if it could incorporate you know, messaging that would resonate more. and maybe we're not able to do that. that being said, there still is a lot of messaging getting to folks, i think that providers, medical providers know more about the importance of testing for hiv and so that's really important. and i think we're finding new ways to reach people, you know, whether it's through social media. whether it's word of mouth. we're still seeing so many people coming in and getting tested. we're still distributing so much information about hiv and other sexual health issues. so i don't, i don't think it's had too big of an effect. >> we're going to take another break and continue our talk about the walk to end hiv here
this moment is perfect in every way just like my kid gooey...flaky...happy. toaster strudel. now with more icing. welcome back weergs talking about the walk to end hiv and aids. you are trying some new things at whitman walker. testing is so critical. because with testing, then you know your status. you can get people into care and treatment, and of course prevent transmission. you're testing at nightclubs, community events? >> yes, indeed. so we want to meet people where they are. and if we're going to effectively fight hiv, we have to meet people where they are. so we're offering testing at nightclubs. we've actually rented out a nightclub for an event where we'll offer testing for entrance to the club that night. we're planning basketball tournaments, fashion shows, working with our community
partners and hosting open mics. things that folks want to go to. and injecting hiv information into those conversations. so that folks know. like it should be a routine part of your lifestyle. >> shawn, what is the red carpet service? >> the red carpet service is what we have for when people test positive, they're immediately engaged in care. so they may see a doctor that same day or certainly by the next day. they are connected with someone from our public benefits and insurance service, to help them either if they don't have insurance, sign up for insurance. they're connected with a nurse care manager to make sure that they you know, are going to adhere to their treatment plan. that they have all that they need. so we really make sure that folks, it's not just you know, you've tested positive, you know and you're on your way. you know, it's what can we do to make sure you stay engaged in care. we know making sure people stay
engaged in care from the outset is hugely important. >> and the care includes so many great advancements in terms of medical, medicine. >> yes. >> talk about some of those and we have a drug now that can prevent infection. >> absolutely. so many people who are hiv positive take just one pill a day. it's a combination of medications. in one pill so i think people still have this idea that there's a cocktail as if it's the mid '90s and you have to wake up every four hours, even if you're sleeping or take, pop multiple medications and that have these terrible side effects, it's not the case any more. most people take cup, maybe they take a couple more pills, depending on what their infection and what treatment plan works with their doctor. and the side effects are typically not that bad. so you know, advancements have come so, so far. and p.r.e.p. is a daily pill that you can take every single day to prevent hiv.
and it's actually a medicine that is used to treat hiv infection. so people can take it to prevent hiv infection. and it's you know, we recommend it in combination with other preventive methods like condoms. but it's hugely important. because we know that a lot of people are not that good about using condoms all the time. you know, we know that particularly among gay and bisexual men, this is a really important intervention for them. >> and dwayne, in the city we're now dealing with of course, the cities across the country dealing with synthetic drugs, which has sort of changed the whole nature of the battle against illegal drugs. how do you reach a young generation that is kind of caught up and is getting swallowed a bit by the synthetic drug culture? >> we're taking steps to really inform people, in tandem around hiv and drugs. and the co-relation between the two.
the more, if you are affecting your mind, by mind-altering drugs, can lead you to engage in some behaviors that could lead to hiv. so in informing forks around hiv, building value for their lives, letting them know, you're worth tomorrow. you can make it to tomorrow. folks are less likely to jump into some of the drugs and some of the sexual activities. >> kind of tough to get that message through. >> it is tough. we're living in very tough times so we're trying to do our best to get people thinking about these things. writing about these things and talking about them. >> health care and access to health care, that's a big issue for many in the city. >> it is, and it's something that the affordable care act has helped a lot. over 90% of district residents have some sort of health insurance. but you know testing with us is free, it's a one-minute test. and we also have an insurance
navigation helpers, who can help people enroll, whether it's in medicaid or medicare or in private insurance. help people kind of make sure that they have some sort of health insurance. so we have you no ways to help people with that. but it is still an issue. >> got to take a break and we'll be back to talk about the walk, october 24th. stay with us.
this year's walk to end hiv has a very interesting theme. it's a super hero theme. >> that's right. we want people to come in costume. the event is what, five, six days away from halloween. so you know -- >> so why not? >> why not, you know. but also you know, the idea is that everyone has the power to be a hero in the fight against hiv. none of us have little super heroes that i know of. but it doesn't matter.
can you get tufted, you can talk to your friends and family about hiv. you can keep the awareness up. you can raise money for organizations like whitman walker or other organizations nationally or internationally that fight this disease. we wanted to empower people, that's one way to do it and also have fun. we'll have a costume contest. some of our staff have tailor made super hero costumes, which have been featured in advertising for the walk we want to have fun with this. yes, hiv is serious, but it doesn't mean we can't have a celebration of life of those who have survived hiv and memorializing those who we've lost to hiv. >> and dwayne, can you register as a sleep walker. >> even if you're not the one to get up in the morning or you might be out of town, you can register and fund-raise and get the money to our services and programming. but you can sleep in and enjoy it as a sleep walker. >> so the walk starts at 9:00 on
october 24th. but registration begins at 7:00. >> freedom plaza, it's metro-accessible. we're hoping for great weather like we had last year. although we'll do it rain or shine. people can come as early as 7:00 a.m. and register. there will be a program, we'll have some special guests. some entertainment. there will be a warm-up and there's a run and there's a walk. and you know, we really hope people come out. because it's, you know last year was the first year i ever participated. and it really is an amazing event. it really is very empowering. you run or you walk down pennsylvania avenue. you see the capitol. and you really realize that you're at the epicenter of the fight against this hiv. >> and the funds that are raised for the walk? >> so much of what we do, hiv testing is free. outreach to the community is free. some of the education and training we do. some of the work that dwayne's team does, the youth services
side. these funds all go to pay for that. and it's so important and that's, there's also community partners that we work with as well. that also receive some of the funding for the great work that they do. >> and dwayne, in addition to the walk there's a 5k run? >> yes. folks can opt to walk or run. and i don't know, i think i might do the run this year. >> in costume. >> figuring it out. i had my outfit already picked out. >> please tell us what that is. >> i crochet, so i made myself a crochet little mask sort of situation. we'll see how it turns out. >> i don't know how you can't come to not see whatever that is going to be. >> and i understand there's actually going to be sort, not a competition -- >> there will be a competition. and actually there will be a pet contest as well. if you like to dress up your pet, do that. and then, yeah, there will be rewards, i can't tell you what the awards are.
but it will be fun. it really will be fun. >> and meaningful. >> and meaningful, exactly. >> nbc 4 is proud to partner with you on this project. >> it's a chance to come out and meet the emcees, there will be a deejay from radio 1 performing, after the event there will be like i said a warm-up. we expect danny pintaro is going to be there from "who's the boss." he recently disclosed his hiv status. he's going to be one of our courage award winners. so i think it's a great event. it's a great community event and we really hope to see people next weekend. >> shawn jain and dwayne lawson-brown, thanks so much for being with us this morning. >> thank you. >> and thank you for being with us, that's "viewpoint," i'm pat lawson muse. stay tuned for news4 today. ♪
well, take a look at this. we're not fooling you. it's really that cold out there and we're in for some of the chilliest days so far. a long criminal background for a man accused of killing a transgender woman. how the family and friends plan to honor her life. good morning. welcome to this morning. it's cold. it's really cold on this sunday morning. >> i couldn't believe it. 30-something degrees in my car. >> if we didn't mention already, i'm adam tuss. >> oh, yeah. i'm