Congress lifted a decade-long ban in December prohibiting D.C. from using local tax dollars to support needle-exchange programs.
Critical funds are now starting to reach these groups, allowing them to increase outreach efforts and add workers like Jackson.
It remains to be seen, though, how much of a dent will be made in slowing the virus, which has touched nearly every cross-section of Washington.
"There is no silver bullet," said Walter Smith, the director of the D.C. Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, an advocacy organization that is monitoring the city's efforts to reduce HIV infection. "There are multiple factors that have produced our high HIV/AIDS rate and it will take multiple factors to bring it down."
The reasons include unstable leadership at the city's HIV/AIDS prevention office, which has had 12 directors in just over 20 years. That has slowed strategies to get a handle on the disease.
Washington also has a high population of black and gay residents — groups where the rate of infection has been high historically.
Still, one statistic has particularly frustrated D.C. officials: More than one in five of Washington's HIV cases were transmitted through intravenous drug
use, according to a report released last year by the city's HIV/AIDS Administration.
Needle exchanges are being used in 36 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico to slow the spread of the disease through IV use
, according to the North American Syringe Exchange Network. Many of the programs are financed with state or local money.
In 1998, however, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., and then-Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Mo., inserted language in the federal spending package that blocked D.C. from funding such programs because of concerns about drug abuse.
They were able to do so because Congress approves the city's budget.