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This is How Washington, D.C., Dramatically Reduced HIV Infections

This is How Washington, D.C., Dramatically Reduced HIV Infections


D.C.'s mayor credits needle exchanges and linkage to care for drop.

Washington, D.C., has seen its sixth year of reduced HIV infections, according to the city's annual report on HIV. 

The rate of infection is still incredibly high (three percent, possibly more, residents are infected), particularly among African-Americans (who account for 74 percent of HIV-positive people in the city) and gay and bi men (67 percent of those who are poz), according to WUSA. About six percent of African -American men in the city have HIV, followed by over two percent each of Latino men, black women, and white men. 

Still, rates have droppeed 59 percent since 2007, including a dramatic drop — a whopping 87 percent — among injection drug users. Mayor Muriel Bowser credited that drop to the city's needle exchange program. She also said that there were no babies born with HIV in 2013, a signal that mother-to-child transmission could be a thing of the past in the city as well.

"My administration is committed to drastically reducing the incidence of HIV in the District of Columbia," Bowser said. "And we are equally committed to making sure those who are diagnosed with HIV receive the best care in the nation." 

The mayor announced that the city would partner with the Appleseed Center on a plan to combat HIV in Washington, and set a goal for 2020 that she dubbed the "90-90-90-50." That equates to: 90 percent of D.C. 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, she said. 


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