According to a study released by the D.C. Department of Health on Wednesday, the HIV infection rate for heterosexual African American women in D.C’s lowest income neighborhoods has increased dramatically in the last two years. The rate of infection has almost doubled from 6.3 percent to 12.1 percent.
It is important to note that the drastic increase is affected by an increase in testing people who had not been tested and did not know their status. According to District health officials,the disease remains at epidemic levels in Washington and it is important for people who are diagnosed to start treatment right away rather than wait for symptoms of the disease.
For the first time in over 20 years, Washington is preparing to host the International AIDS Conference next month in which the District’s officials intend to share their positive progress in fighting HIV and AIDS.
On Wednesday, officials also released the Health Department’s annual update on HIV/AIDS, which showed a drop in the overall number of new AIDS cases over four years and improvements in getting infected people into care quickly.
In D.C., unlike other cities, at-risk people are not just homosexual men or intravenous drug users but a mix which includes heterosexual African Americans. 90 percent of all women with HIV are black.
Officials in D.C. are very concerned and have called the rates of infection “alarming”.