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Fewer D.C. Residents Affected By HIV/AIDS, Though Epidemic Remains

The number of D.C. residents affected by HIV/AIDS continues to decline, according to a new report released by city officials today.

The annual report found that there were 680 newly diagnosed cases of HIV in 2012, a 42 percent decline from the 1,180 cases reported in 2008. Additionally, new diagnoses of AIDS dropped by 35 percent over the same period, as did the number of residents dying from HIV.

Similar decreases were reported in last year's census of infectious diseases, and city officials credit needle-exchange programs, condom distribution, testing, and treatment for the city's ongoing successes in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

In 2013, 177,000 HIV/AIDS tests were conducted in D.C., up from 138,000 the year prior. (D.C. offers tests at the DMV.) Close to seven million condoms were distributed, and 647,000 needles were removed or exchanged.

Despite the ongoing progress, the 16,072 residents living with HIV — or 2.5 percent of the city's population — still constitute an epidemic, which the World Health Organization sets at one percent of population. The impact of HIV/AIDS also continues to be felt predominantly by the city's African American residents: According to the report, 3.9 percent of African Americans are affected by the disease, above the one percent of whites and Hispanics. African American men are most prone: 5.7 percent have HIV/AIDS.

Organizations monitoring HIV/AIDS in D.C. say that the city had made progress on identifying residents with the disease and providing them necessary services, but still falls behind in areas such as public education and screening and treatment among the incarcerated.

2013 Annual Report FINAL-2

NPR

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