WASHINGTON, DC— Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Department of Health (DOH) officials released the District of Columbia HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Epidemiology Report 2010 Update.
“Our newest update on the state of the HIV epidemic gives new inspiration to our efforts as One City – government and community working together – to fight HIV/AIDS in the District of Columbia. We are getting people diagnosed earlier and into care and treatment faster for their health, thereby reducing the chances that others will get infected,” said Mayor Gray. “I look forward to the recommendations of the Mayor’s Commission on HIV and AIDS to strengthen our response and do more to improve the health of District residents.”
In line with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the Update highlights progress the District has made to reduce the burden of the disease on District residents:
Increasing Access to Care and Improving Health Outcomes
• More than 75% of persons in DC entered into care and treatment within three months of their HIV diagnosis. This is a steady increase from the 58% in 2005.
• Average CD4 count at diagnosis increased again from 352 in 2008 to 361 in 2009. Overall, there has been an increase of 71% from 211 in 2004.
• The number of persons testing late declined by nearly 10% -- from 53.3% to 44.0% -- in 2008.
• The proportion of persons progressing from HIV to AIDS decreased again to 24.2% in 2008, cut nearly in half from 47% in 2004.
• The number of deaths among persons with HIV/AIDS decreased by more than half, from 326 in 2005 to 153 in 2009.
Reducing New Cases
• In 2009, there were 755 new cases of HIV/AIDS and 16,721 persons are living with HIV/AIDS in the District of Columbia or 3.2% of all District residents.
• From 2008 to 2009, there was a leveling of the number of new chlamydia and gonorrhea cases, which holds promise for a slowing in new infections.
• DC made more progress toward its goal of TB elimination, with another decrease in cases from 54 in 2008 to 41 in 2009.
Health disparities remain a challenge in the District, with an overall disproportionate impact of HIV and STDs among African Americans. The Update shows new emerging disparities among other population groups. The proportion of new AIDS cases among older adults (ages 50 years old and older) has increased from 19% in 2005 to 26% in 2009. Older adults had the highest rates of late testing, at more than 70% -- compared to 44% among all ages. A greater proportion of Hispanics between 20 and 29 years of age were diagnosed with AIDS than whites and blacks. A higher proportion of Hispanics were late testers (64% compared to 44% among all racial groups). Adolescents (ages 15 to 19 years old) continue to comprise the largest proportion of chlamydia (40%) and gonorrhea (34%) cases. Women now represent a higher proportion of TB cases, increasing from 36% in 2005 to 59% in 2009.
Mayor Gray also released a new study on drug use and HIV, Injection Drug Use: IDUs and HIV Infection in DC. The study showed a high rate of HIV (13%) among active drug users. It also reported that one out of five study participants had shared needles with partners and three-quarters shared “works” (other items related to intravenous drug use, including cookers, cotton swabs and water), which can lead to HIV infection. Most of the study participants were older and had been using drugs for 30 years. In addition, more than 90% reported that they had been told they had hepatitis C. The study did highlight the success of needle-exchange programs in providing services to active drug users. The study recommends increasing the availability of free needles, more targeted outreach to younger and newer injection drug users and women, and enhanced efforts addressing co-infection of HIV and hepatitis C.
The District of Columbia, through DOH and in collaboration with other DC government agencies and community partners, has a strong record of accomplishment. DC continues to increase HIV testing, supporting 110,000 tests in 2010 -- nearly triple the number from 2006. New demonstration projects have started or are about to start for HIV testing in the Department of Motor Vehicles and in income-maintenance centers. Since 2007, DOH has doubled the number of residents receiving free HIV medications. D.C. distributed 4 million free condoms in 2010. DC reached 5,000 young people with free voluntary STD testing. In 2010, D.C.’s comprehensive needle-exchange programs removed 320,000 needles, enrolled about 1,300 new clients, provided HIV testing to 1,600 people and linked 241 to drug treatment.
To upload and read the District of Columbia HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Epidemiology Report 2009 Update and Injection Drug Use: IDUs and HIV Infection in DC, visit www.doh.dc.gov.