The number of newly diagnosed HIV cases in the District of Columbia has decreased by 79 percent in 2019 since 2007, according to data revealed in an official report.
The DC Department of Health released its “Annual Epidemiology & Surveillance Report” on August 20.
In 2019, a total of 282 new HIV cases were reported, which is a decline of 16 percent from 2018, when the total was 335. The figures recorded in 2017, 2016, and 2015 were 371, 379, and 399, respectively.
Overall, there has been a 79 percent decline from 1,374 cases in 2007.
Commenting on the report, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said:
“Our partnerships with the community have continued to yield promising results to both stem and reduce new HIV cases, while also delivering better and more efficient treatment to residents living with HIV. Our goal of ending the HIV epidemic in DC is not yet done, and we will continue to work to ensure equity in services, reduce stigma as an access barrier, make testing easier, support needle exchange, and keep people HIV negative.”
Key findings of the report pertaining to the year 2019 include:
- 12,408 current residents of the District of Columbia or 1.8 percent of the population are living with HIV.
- The number of newly diagnosed HIV cases in the District decreased to 282 cases in 2019, a decline of 61 percent from 721 cases in 2011 and 79 percent from 1,374 cases in 2007.
- There were two babies born with HIV in 2019.
- The number of newly diagnosed HIV cases attributable to injection drug use decreased by 99 percent from 150 cases in 2007, prior to the scale up of DC’s needle exchange program, to two cases in 2019.
- Blacks and Latinos with HIV exceeded 1 percent of their respective populations, with Blacks disproportionately impacted at 2.8 percent.
- More than half of people living with HIV in DC are 50 years old and older.
- Young people ages 13 to 24 represent nearly 20 percent of new HIV diagnoses between 2015 and 2019; the number of new HIV diagnoses among young people ages 20-24 remained level for the past three years.
- Men who have sex with men and heterosexual contact are the two leading modes of transmission reported among newly diagnosed and identified HIV cases.
- There were 9,337 cases of chlamydia, 4,374 cases of gonorrhea and 297 cases of primary and secondary syphilis reported in 2019.
- A substantial minority (37 percent) of primary and secondary syphilis cases occurred among people with HIV, which declined from 43 percent in 2015.
- There were 1,099 people with newly reported hepatitis C in 2019.
- There were 24 cases of TB in 2019 with nearly three-quarters occurring among people born outside of the US.
Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way DC residents seek medical help, DC Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, said “We are expanding telehealth options and home-based testing to give residents the opportunity to take charge of their health.”
Since June, DC Health has been providing DC residents with free, at-home HIV test kits that return results in 20 minutes.