Washington, D.C. mayor and health officials tackle HIV epidemic
Following the release of a report that found an HIV prevalence rate of 3% in the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. public health officials and Mayor Adrian Fenty announced a new initiative last week aimed at increasing HIV testing.
The report, from a 2008 study, which updates 2007 data, found a 22% increase in HIV/AIDS cases from the end of 2006. It is estimated that 2,984 in every 100,000 district residents older than 12 are HIV-positive, amounting to a total of approximately 15,120 people. And, while the report suggests epidemic levels of infection with HIV in all but one of the cityís wards, it cautions that the actual number of residents living with the virus may be higher than the data indicate.
Particularly alarming is the fact that the study found that more than 4% of black people in the district are living with HIV, and that a total of 76% of people living with the virus in the nationís capitol are black. Black men carry the largest HIV burden, with a 7% prevalence rate, while 3% of black women were found to be HIV-positive. Heterosexual sex was the leading cause of transmission among blacks, accounting for 33% of cases, while homosexual sex accounted for the most cases among whites and Hispanics (78% and 49% respectively).