New AIDS cases and deaths decline in the District
The District's HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is still at an epidemic level, more than 3 percent, but the number of new AIDS cases and deaths have declined in recent years, according to an epidemiology report released by city officials Wednesday.
About 16,500 District residents are living with either HIV or AIDS, compared with 15,100 the previous year, the 2009 annual report said. But the number of diagnoses of AIDS, which progresses from HIV and causes death, fell from 786 in 2004 to 525 in 2008. In addition, data showed that the number of AIDS-related deaths dropped from 379 in 2004 to 274 in 2007. City health officials attributed the drop to an aggressive campaign to test and treat residents.
"These are not easy gains," said Shannon L. Hader, director of the city's HIV/AIDS Administration, who drew criticism last year when she compared the District's prevalence rate to those in parts of Africa. "But the better we do, the more we see we must do as well. We're finding people who were not served previously. As we find these people, we're finding that there's more to do."
The report found that many problems detected in last year's study remain the same.
African Americans continue to be disproportionately affected by the disease, representing 52 percent of the population and more than 75 percent of those with HIV/AIDS infection. White residents represent 35 percent of the population and 16 percent of infections. Hispanics make up 8 percent of the population and 5 percent of infections.
According to the report, one of every 21 black residents of the District has HIV or AIDS, compared with one in every 66 white residents and one in 47 Hispanic residents.
-- Darryl Fears
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