At least 3% of DC residents have HIV or AIDS, a total that far surpasses the 1 percent threshold that constitutes a “generalized and severe” epidemic, according to a report released by health officials. Continue reading for full story and Mayor Fenty’s press release on the DC HIV/AIDS epidemic.
If you do the math, that comes out to 2,984 residents per every 100,000 over the age of 12 — or 15,120 — according to the 2008 epidemiology report by the District’s HIV/AIDS office. That means that the HIV/AIDS rate in DC is higher than the rate in West Africa. According to Shannon L. Hader, Director of the District’s HIV/AIDS Administration, ‘”We have every mode of transmission” — men having sex with men, heterosexual and injected drug use — “going up, all on the rise, and we have to deal with them”‘.
This is why it is so important to get tested, people. A disease is called an epidemic if it sickens 1% of the population. AIDS/HIV is at 3% here in the District. That means we all have to do our part to prevent the statistics from growing any higher. For more information on how you can help with this epidemic, CLICK HERE. To find a free testing clinic in your area, click one of the links below:
From Mayor Fenty’s Press Release on DC’S AIDS/HIV rating:
“Past studies have highlighted the HIV/AIDS problems in the District, but this report details how individuals are putting themselves at risk for the disease,” said Mayor Fenty. “These facts serve as a blueprint that allows us to improve how we prevent HIV and better serve people living with the virus.”
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognized the District as one of the top three jurisdictions in the country in conducting the most HIV tests and identifying the greatest number of persons with HIV under its Expanded HIV Testing Initiative.
On heterosexual relationships and HIV in DC:
This new report is the first-ever study conducted to assess the behavioral risks of HIV among heterosexuals. The report reveals that heterosexuals are at risk of HIV because of sex outside of relationships and low condom use. This study is the first part of a new series on DC HIV Health Behavior. The study found:
Approximately 75 percent reported being in a committed relationship.
Nearly half believed their last sexual partner was having sex with someone outside of the relationship.
Nearly half reported they had sex outside of the relationship.
Nearly half did not know their last sex partner’s HIV status.
More than 70 percent of participants did not use condoms.
“Some people may think they’ve been tested for HIV just because they’ve been seen by a doctor or had blood taken, but that does not mean they have actually been checked for HIV. Our study shows that many doctors are not routinely offering or doing HIV tests,” said Dr. Pierre N.D. Vigilance, Director of the Department of Health. “This year, the District will be doing extensive outreach among our health care providers to ensure that we fully implement routine testing.”