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Mayor Bowser Reports Sixth Consecutive Year Decrease in New HIV Cases in DC

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, Department of Health (DOH) Director Dr. LaQuandra S. Nesbitt, and Executive Director of the DC Appleseed Center Walter Smith, presented the Annual District of Columbia HIV, STD, Hepatitis and TB report. The report finds that the District continues to make progress in the ongoing fight against HIV.

Since 2007, DC has seen a 59 percent decrease in newly diagnosed and reported HIV cases.  Meanwhile, there was an 87 percent decrease in new HIV cases attributable to injection drug use, which the Mayor credited to the District’s needle exchange programs.  The Mayor also announced that there were no babies born with HIV in the District in 2013.  The presentation of this epidemiological snapshot took place at Whitman Walker Health – Youth Services Freestyle Center.

In addition to releasing the report, Mayor Bowser announced that the DC Government will collaborate with the Appleseed Center to develop a plan to more effectively combat the HIV epidemic in the Washington, DC. This new strategic plan will be rooted in data and scientifically proven methods.

“My administration is committed to drastically reducing the incidence of HIV in the District of Columbia.  And we are equally committed to making sure those who are diagnosed with HIV receive the best care in the nation.  We are setting a bold goal of 90-90-90-50 by the year 2020:  meaning 90 percent of DC residents with HIV will know their status, 90 percent of persons living with HIV will be in treatment, 90 percent of persons with HIV will achieve viral load suppression, and the District will see a 50 percent decrease in new HIV cases,” said Mayor Bowser.

“As part of a fresh start in approaching the new trends in the District’s HIV epidemic, we must place special emphasis in the constantly changing socio demographic profile of those newly infected with HIV in order to serve them in a culturally appropriate manner thus optimizing positive outcomes” said Dr. LaQuandra S. Nesbitt. “At DOH we will do what it takes to assure those we serve receive the best care and the best support services in the nation. Mayor Bowser’s goals are clear: we will not be complacent, we will not leave anyone behind and we will step up the fight against this epidemic.”

The annual report, which looks at 2013 numbers, contained the following findings on the state of HIV, hepatitis, STDs and TB in the District:

  • 16,423 residents of the District of Columbia - or 2.5 percent of the population - are living with HIV. An estimated prevalence of 2.5 percent exceeds the World Health Organization definition of 1 percent as a generalized epidemic.
  • Blacks, Hispanics, and whites with HIV each exceed 1 percent, with blacks disproportionately impacted at 3.9 percent.
  • Men who have sex with men, and heterosexual contact, are the two leading transmission modes reported among newly diagnosed and identified HIV cases.
  • There were reports of 6,647 cases of chlamydia, 2,626 cases of gonorrhea and 154 cases of primary and secondary syphilis.
  • There were reports of 2,241 cases of hepatitis B and 8,933 cases of hepatitis C newly diagnosed between 2009 and 2013.
  • 37 new cases of TB were reported.

DOH also released a supplement on HIV care dynamics that showed the District with higher than the national averages on linkage to care, retention in HIV care and viral load suppression:

  • 80 percent of persons are linked to care within 3 months of diagnosis.
  • 62 percent of persons are retained in care.
  • 47 percent of persons have viral suppression.
  • Among the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Ryan White clients, 89 percent are retained in care and 63 percent are virally suppressed.

The complete reports are available on the DOH web site at doh.dc.gov/hahsta.