In a city that had HIV infection rates that notoriously rivaled those of third-world nations, the latest report from the D.C. Health Department is encouraging news: new HIV infections are on the decline.
"Our newest update on the state of the HIV epidemic gives new inspiration to our efforts as One City - government and community working together - to fight HIV/AIDS in the District of Columbia," Mayor Vincent Gray said. "We are getting people diagnosed earlier and into care and treatment faster for their health, thereby reducing the chances that others will get infected."
The survey reported that in 2009, the District recorded 755 new AIDS cases, half of the number of new cases recorded in 2007. Officials attribute this reversal to a robust push for public testing and routine testing, which led to more early diagnoses. The number of people progressing from HIV to full-fledged AIDS decreased to 24.2 percent in 2008, almost half the rate in 2004.
Still, the infection rate in the capital, at 3.2 percent, is triple what the Centers for Disease Control would classify as an epidemic. That is the highest infection rate out of any city in the country.
Black males in Wards 6, 7, and 8 continue to have the highest rates of infections.
For a look at the full report, click here.