A new report on HIV infection in Washington, D.C., calls it a “modern epidemic” that hits especially hard in the District’s African-American community.
More than 80 percent of the 3,269 HIV cases identified between 2001 and 2006 were in the black community. Among women who tested positive, nine out of 10 were African-American.
The District is nearly 60 percent black.
The report from the District’s HIV/AIDS Administration, released Monday, also reveals that HIV is being spread more through heterosexual contact than gay sex — 37 percent of the cases detected during that time period were attributable to heterosexual sex, compared to 25 percent from men having sex with men.
“It blows the stereotype out of the water,” said Shannon Hader, head of the HIV/AIDS Administration.
One in 20 Washington residents is thought to be infected with the HIV virus, and 1 in 50 have AIDS, according to the report.
The District’s AIDS rate is the worst of any city in the nation — almost twice New York’s rate and more than four times the rate in Detroit, the Washington Post reports.
“HIV/AIDS in the District has become a modern epidemic with complexities and challenges that continue to threaten the lives and well-being of far too many residents,” the report observes.
A letter from Mayor Adrian Fenty accompanying the report states: “We must take advantage of this information with the sense of urgency that this epidemic deserves.”
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