Epidemic! 3% of People in DC Have HIV/AIDS
According to the recently-released 2008 epidemiology report by the District's HIV/AIDS office, 7% of Washington DC's population is HIV positive or has AIDS. That translates into 2,984 residents per every 100,000 over the age of 12 -- or 15,120 people.
But that's not the most shocking: The report says HIV infection is up 22% since 2006!
Because of these numbers, DC in now, officially, in an epidemic.
Black men, with an infection rate of nearly 7 percent, carry the weight of the disease, according to the report, which also underscores that the District's HIV and AIDS population is aging. Almost 1 in 10 residents between the ages of 40 and 49 has the virus.
Men having sex with men has remained the disease's leading mode of transmission. Heterosexual transmission and injection drug use closely follow, the report says. Three percent of black women carry the virus, partly a result of the increase in heterosexual transmissions.
More than 4 percent of blacks in the city are known to have HIV, along with almost 2 percent of Latinos and 1.4 percent of whites. More than three-quarters -- 76 percent -- of the HIV infected are black, 70 percent are men and 70 percent are age 40 and older.
Heterosexual sex was the principal mode of transmission for blacks with the disease, 33 percent. Men having sex with men was the chief mode of transmission for white residents, 78 percent; and Latinos, 49 percent. Black women represent more than a quarter of HIV cases in the District, and most, about 58 percent, were infected through heterosexual sex. About a quarter of black women were infected through drug use.
While this news is tragic and sobering, there is good news: People are getting diagnosed early and getting the treatment they need.