D.C. Council member David Catania (At-Large) this week introduced a bill that would elevate the District’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Administration (HASTA) to a cabinet-level agency.
The “HIV/AIDS Program Management Act of 2011” would require the Senior Deputy Director of HASTA to report directly to the mayor.
Catania, in a statement, emphasized that the bill does not create a new HIV/AIDS department.
“The District can and should be an example to the world on how to get its act together and effectively fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. I believe that we are on the right course, but it will take enormous efforts on the part of our government and our provider community to ensure that we shine on the world’s stage in 2012, and more importantly, continue our progress so that no District resident has to suffer this dreadful disease,” Catania said.
He was referring to the 2012 International AIDS Society conference in D.C., marking the first time the massive gathering of thousands of AIDS researchers and other service providers comes to the United States.
“In approximately 18 months, the world’s eyes will be on the District of Columbia’s fight to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. This will be a unique chance for the District to showcase our revamped efforts to eliminate this disease,” Catania said. “We cannot waste this opportunity, which is why I am proposing the promotion of the HASTA within the executive branch of our local government.”