DC Fights Back
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DC Fights Back is an all volunteer grassroots HIV/AIDS advocacy group in Washington, D.C.. DC Fights Back's mission statement is, "DC Fights Back (DCFB) is an all-volunteer network of people living with HIV/AIDS and their allies working to engage ourselves & our communities in every aspect of HIV advocacy for District residents and to end stigma to ensure the best possible treatment & care for those living with HIV/AIDS and implement the best possible science-based HIV prevention for everybody."
Washington, DC's AIDS rate is the worst of any city in the country, nearly twice the rate in New York and more than four times the incidence in Detroit, and it has been climbing faster than that of many jurisdictions. 1 in 20 residents of Washington DC is living with HIV and 1 in 50 residents is living with AIDS. The HIV epidemic in Washington, DC is considered a "generalized epidemic" in that the disease has spread beyond so-called "high-risk" groups, injection drug users(IDU), commercial sex workers(CSW), and men who have sex with men(MSM). It was into this landscape that DC Fights Back was formed on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2005. DC Fights Back grew out of numerous community groups and associations that formed in DC in response to a perceived lack of local government leadership on the issue of HIV.
DC Fights Back's early work was done by "bird-dogging" candidates forums during the 2006 Mayoral and City Council campaigns. Bird-dogging is the name given to the activist tactic of attending public appearances in order to win new policies from politicians. This direct interaction between activists and decision makers rarely happens. It is possible to have an impact through the simple act of bringing five people to an event, working together to raise your hands and ask questions that provoke an answer from the target politician. DC Fights Back gave all of the candidates the DC Appleseed Center's report entitled "Improving the District of Columbia's Response to a Public Health Crisis" as well as asking tough questions about the District's perceived sluggish response to a health crisis.
DC Fights Back along with Greater DC Cares put together community dialogues with all of the mayoral candidates and key stakeholders most of whom were HIV positive. These dialogues took the form of facilitated discussion between the candidates, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the public.