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Staggering Drop in Washington, D.C.'s HIV Infections


The nation's capital is making progress in battling HIV, even if the city's Black population remains disproportionately affected.

HIV diagnoses dropped by 16 percent in Washington, D.C., between 2018 and 2019, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced last week. The numbers are even more impressive when viewed over the past decade, with HIV infections dropping by 61 percent since 2011.

The number of people testing positive for HIV in D.C. last year was 282 individuals, compared to 335 in 2018. There are over 12,400 people living with HIV in the nation's capital, comprising 1.8 percent of the city's population or 2.8 percent of D.C.'s Black population.

Washington, along with the city's Whitman Walker Clinic, plan to distribute free at-home HIV testing kits for anyone requesting them.

Naseema Shafi, CEO of Whitman Walker, told the local ABC affiliate that some of her HIV-positive clients are struggling in the face of COVID-19, with news of another pandemic "retraumatizing."

"You see people one week....days later you notice they're missing," Geno Dunnington, who has lived with HIV for over three decades, told ABC.

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Neal Broverman