The HIV transmission rate in the nation’s capital is as high as that of Uganda and parts of Kenya, where the virus is at epidemic levels.
About 3,000 people in every 100,000 Washington, D.C., residents are HIV-positive, according to a report released Monday by Mayor Adrian Fenty. The D.C. department of health’s HIV/AIDS administration director Shannon Hader told The Washington Post that these levels are the highest in the nation, and higher than parts of West Africa, “where the disease is considered to be a crisis.”
The count shows a 22% increase since 2006, bringing the total number of Washington, D.C, residents with the virus to 15,120 people.
The groups most affected by this are African-Americans, white gay males, and Latinos. Men who have sex with men of all races made up 51% of those with HIV. Nationally, the rate is about 60%. The majority of gay and bisexual men with HIV were between the ages of 20 and 49. Transmission is most fueleed by both heterosexual and homosexual sex as well as drug use.
Of those with HIV in heterosexual relationships, about half believed that their partner was in a sexual relationship with another person, and about the same number of people were not aware of their partner’s HIV status.
Fenty, with Hader and department of health director Pierre Vigilance, unveiled plans to combat the skyrocketing rate of HIV transmission in the city.