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In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Mayoral candidate Vince Gray explains what he wants from a D.C. HIV/AIDS director in the wake of Dr. Shannon Hader‘s sudden departure from HAHSTA last month [via Fight HIV in DC]. He’s looking for “the best possible person” that he doesn’t have to lie to:
I want to recruit the best possible person for the position. It has to be someone who understands the virus and who understands how to work with people. There are many communities concerned about HIV/AIDS. And there has been a lot of volatility over the years. We want someone who is willing to go out in the community and recruit others with the same kind of commitment. And then try to understand what resources have been lacking and the extent to which we could fix that. One thing I won’t do is over promise to people because you lose your credibility. You may have attracted someone because you made certain promises. It’s devastating to say ‘I know we promised you this but I’m sorry we can’t deliver’. You wind up with a soured relationship.
Is Gray suggesting that the District couldn’t deliver on its promises to its last HIV/AIDS director? A recent op-ed in the Washington Blade posits that Hader received “little support” from the District, and that her “hands were tied” by a “local government that lacked the funds and the vision to realize the full potential of a more integrated, multi-agency approach needed to address this public health emergency.” It’s certainly going to be difficult to sugarcoat D.C.’s HIV/AIDS crisis for potential candidates. Without promises of additional resources, will the District be able to snag a director that’s nearly as effective as Hader?