March 18, 2009

March 18, 2009
3 Percent of DC Residents Are HIV Positive

Thanks for stopping by to see me. We are in the middle of a long busy week for me. At least we are having beautiful weather here in north Florida with highs near 70. Definitely better than many other places in the country but we will pay for it later in the year with heat, high temperatures and high humidity.

I worked on the video clippings we filmed this past weekend at the Positive Living Conference in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. I have about half of them done now and loaded onto our new "I'm One in a Million" section of this website. So I invite you to check them out and hear their stories about living with HIV.

Speaking about living with HIV, we have more bad news. At least 3 percent of Washington, DC, residents are living with HIV/AIDS, according to a 2008 epidemiology report by the district’s HIV/AIDS office and written about in The Washington Post. The study, released March 16, notes that even a 1 percent prevalence constitutes a “generalized and severe” HIV epidemic.

“Our rates are higher than West Africa,” said Shannon Hader, director of the District’s HIV/AIDS administration who once led the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s work in Zimbabwe. “They’re on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya.” The report notes that sex between men remains the most common mode of transmission in the district but that HIV is also on the rise among injection drug users and heterosexuals.

In addition to the epidemiology report, the city has also released a CDC funded study on heterosexual behavior. According to that report, nearly half of residents who had connections to parts of the city with the highest AIDS prevalence and poverty rates reported being with more than one sexual partner during the same time period within the past year; three in five said they knew their own HIV status; and only three in 10 reported using a condom the last time they had sex.

Just one more reason we need more funding for HIV/AIDS awareness, education and prevention. Or soon we will be saving the same about several other cities in the United States.

What are your thoughts? Drop me a line and let me know.

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab