Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Blade: 
DC's HIV Rate Continues to Drop

Over at the Washington Blade's site reporter Michael Lavers writes that the District of Columbia's HIV infection rate is still falling, according to new statistics from the city's Department of Health. Lavers reports key positive findings of the latest epidemiology surveillance report for DC:

The report further indicates that the number of new AIDS cases in D.C. decreased 32 percent from 2006 to 2010, and the number of diagnoses among men who have sex with men fell by 25 percent over the same period. DOH noted that roughly 89 percent of the 4,879 people who tested positive for the virus between 2005 and 2009 were connected to HIV-specific care by the end of 2010. HIV-related deaths in D.C. also fell by almost 50 percent from 2006 to 2010. [...]

New HIV cases in D.C. decreased 24 percent among black Washingtonians between 2006 and 2010. Rates of new diagnoses among white D.C. residents dropped 36 percent over the same period.

There is much to be noted and celebrated in this info, and yes, the right word to use in the thirty-first year of the AIDS epidemic in America is celebrated because there are so many good and significant developments regarding control and prevention of HIV, along with an exceptionally high rate of infection persons receiving health care services.

I wanted the hard numbers behind the percentages and found them in the DOH report:

The number of newly diagnosed HIV cases in the District decreased slightly from 853 cases in 2009 to 835 cases in 2010, however there has been a 24% reduction from 1,103 cases in 2006. 

There have been no children born with HIV in DC since 2009. There was a 72% decrease in the number of newly diagnosed HIV cases attributable to injection drug use from 150 in 2007 – prior to the scale up of DC’s needle exchange program – to 42 in 2010. 

As if all these declines weren't enough fantastic developments, the DC DOH further reports that other sexually transmitted diseases are also continuing to fall. Excellent news all around, as the District of Columbia prepares to host the International AIDS Conference in July.

Kudos to the Blade for bringing the epidemiology to the community's attention, to the gay and bisexual men engaging in safer sexual behaviors, same goes for drug users, and applause for the policies of the local DOH and AIDS service organizations.

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