Sobering statistics. A new report shows at least 3 percent of Washington D.C. residents have either HIV or AIDS and black gay men continue to bear the brunt. The District of Columbia's HIV rate is the highest in the country and "higher than West Africa and on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya."
The report by the District's HIV/AIDS Office finds HIV has reached a "severe epidemic level" and comes after a recent rally on the White House urging the new administration to prioritize HIV/AIDS. The report office finds HIV/AIDS has reached a "severe epidemic level." All modes of transmission are up, more than 4% of black district residents are living with HIV, and, the report also cautions "the true number of residents" living with HIV could be higher than official data indicate, according to the Washington Post.
Men having sex with men remains the disease's leading mode of transmission, followed by heterosexual transmission and injection drug use.
Ron Simmons, who is black, gay and HIV positive, tells WaPo he is "not" shocked by the study's findings. "You have a high incidence of HIV among African Americans, and a lot of African Americans live in the city," says Simmons, who is a member of a black gay support group. "D.C. also has a high number of gay men, and HIV is high among gay black men."
It's not very surprising the nation's capitol leads the nation in HIV rates. What is beyond shocking is the fact that the recent so-called State of the Black Union never addressed the soaring HIV rates in the black community. Old school, traditional black "leadership" is divorced from reality and continues to ignore the 700 pound elephant in the room. It's time to have a real talk on sexuality and health in our community.
Some Background ...
Ending Black Homophobia Will Reduce HIV [R20]
CDC: Young Black Gay Men Hit Hardest by New HIV Infections [R20]
HIV Spreading in NYC at Three Times National Rate Black/Latino Gay Men Hit Hardest [R20]
CDC: "Troubling" Rise in HIV Among Black Gay Men [R20]
HIV Rates Rising Among Black NYC Gay Men [R20]
CDC Tracking "Serious" Strain of Syphilis [R20]
The HIV Morning After Pill? [R20]
Black Gay Men and "The Pill" [R20]
Do You Disclose Your HIV Status? [R20]
Primetime Reports Black HIV Epidemic [After Elton]
"Out of Control: AIDS in Black America" [R20]
POZ Examines Race and the Down Low [R20]
HIV Rates Rise Among NYC Black Gay Men [R20]
POZ Examines Race and the “Down Low” [R20]
"Urban Rally Against AIDS" [R20]
The ABCs of Black HIV [R20]