Community Voices


Community engagement is an integral part of DC’s plan to end the HIV Epidemic plan — because we learn as much from community as we do from epidemiological data. The only way public health prevention and treatment tools can be effective is if we ensure that those tools are relevant and accessible to the people we want to reach. For that, we needed to know what people’s priorities are. So we asked.

We started by seeking insight into people’s daily experiences.  

With that in mind, DC Health community engagement conversations were guided by four central questions:

  • What’s going on in the lives of people in your community?
  • What are the major concerns of your community?
  • What are strengths of your community?
  • How do we use these strengths to continue to support the lives of the people in your community?

As of late 2020, DC Health has heard from some 740 community members, through intentional efforts to reach those who are not traditionally part of engagement activities. Opportunities were tailored to various communities and have included breakfasts, informal gatherings, focus groups, dinners, and large-scale social events — all held in safe, casual, familiar spaces to encourage open conversations. We wanted to decrease the feeling of business or government formalities.

We launched these community engagement activities in October 2019 but paused in March 2020 to enact COVID-19 prevention measures. When DC Health resumed its community efforts in May 2020, it was through virtual platforms —platforms that worked for many, but not all, of the groups. We know that we missed some engagement opportunities. We also know that for this plan to succeed we need community thoughts, ideas, and recommendations on a continual basis.

DC Health remains committed to ongoing community engagement. We will return to those communities we have already engaged as well as focus on communities we have yet to reach. Please visit our Events page to find out how you can be involved.

We look forward to continued listening, learning, and collaborating with you as DC moves toward ending the HIV epidemic by decreasing new HIV diagnoses and ensuring that people with HIV live long, healthy lives.

Read summaries of our community engagement sessions below.

Note: While the opinions expressed in these summaries are meant to convey a sense of what residents believe and feel, they do not necessarily represent the views of all people in each community, or the views of DC Health.

Community Members

Community Providers

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