Washington DC's HIV/AIDS prevalence rate remains at epidemic levels and the number of HIV/AIDS cases in the city has topped 16,500. But there is some good news: For the first time in years the number of new AIDS cases and deaths have declined but black gay and bisexual men continue to be over-represented, according to an epidemiology report released by city officials on Wednesday and reported in the Washington Post.
About 16,500 District residents are living with either HIV or AIDS,
compared with 15,100 the previous year, the 2009 annual report said. But
the number of diagnoses of AIDS, which progresses from HIV and causes
death, fell from 786 in 2004 to 525 in 2008. In addition, data showed
that the number of AIDS-related deaths dropped from 379 in 2004 to 274
in 2007. City health officials attributed the drop to an aggressive
campaign to test and treat residents.
The report found that many problems detected in last year's study remain the same. African Americans continue to be disproportionately affected by the disease, representing 52 percent of the population and more than 75 percent of those with HIV/AIDS infection. ... According to the report, one of every 21 black residents of the District has HIV or AIDS, compared with one in every 66 white residents and one in 47 Hispanic residents.
The District's HIV/AIDS rate continues to be 3.2 percent, the highest in the country and "higher than West Africa and on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya." The rate among black men is more than double that at 7 percent. Men having sex with men (MSM) remains the leading mode of HIV transmission and the rate among black MSM is "exponentially higher", according to the report;.
Washington DC's increase in HIV cases are announced at the same time a number of states have been forced to cutback funding to AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP), which pick up the cost of expensive antiretroviral drugs and other medications for the low-income HIV-positive. The ADAP cutbacks are disproportionately affecting black gay men, we report in "Recession Forces States to Slash AIDS Drug Assistance Programs", in the latest issue of Black AIDS Weekly.
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