14 Percent of D.C. Gay Men are HIV Positive: Report

New HIV/AIDS behavior report gives alarming findings

By Adrienne Welsch
|  Friday, Mar 26, 2010  |  Updated 9:00 AM EDT
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14 Percent of D.C. Gay Men are HIV Positive: Report

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WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 30: In honor of World AIDS Day, a large AIDS ribbon hangs from the North Portico of the White House November 30, 2007 in Washington DC. World AIDS Day is December 1. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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One in seven gay men living in the District are HIV positive. That’s just one alarming statistic to come out of a new HIV behavior study conducted by the D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration.

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and city health officials gathered on Thursday to address the results of the city’s second such study.  This study focused solely on gay men.

In the end, 14 percent of the 500 men surveyed were found to be HIV positive.  That’s nearly five times higher than the District’s overall HIV rate.

More than 40 percent of those surveyed did not know they were positive before the study, and about one-third did not know the status of their partner.  Beyond that, the study found that nearly 40 percent of men did not use a condom with their last sexual partner.

The study also found that younger men generally had safer sex practices than older men.

“It’s very important to understand what the ramifications are of this data and how this data needs to help us change our practice,” says Dr. Pierre Vigilance, director of the D.C. Department of Health.

As a result of the study, the D.C. health department is now recommending that all gay men in the District get tested for HIV at least twice a year.

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