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Mayor Adrian Fenty 
Updated HIV/AIDS Statistics and Study on Heterosexual Relationships
March 16, 2009




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News Release for Immediate Release
March 16, 2009

Mayor Fenty Releases Updated HIV/AIDS Statistics and Unveils New Study on Heterosexuals and Relationships

Contact: Mafara Hobson, 202-744-4549

New statistics show increased HIV/AIDS testing, which has lead to reduction in babies born with HIV
District’s first heterosexual study reveals sex outside of relationships and low condom use

Today, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, along with Department of Health Director Pierre Vigilance and HIV AIDS Administration Director Shannon Hader released two reports on the state of HIV/AIDS in the District of Columbia. The reports are a part of the District’s overall effort to enhance data collection and analysis in an effort to provide effective public health programming for all health issues facing DC residents.

“Past studies have highlighted the HIV/AIDs problems in the District, but this reports details how individuals are putting themselves at risk for the disease,” said Mayor Fenty. “These facts serve as a blueprint that allows us to improve how we prevent HIV and better serve people living with the virus.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognized the District as one of the top three jurisdictions in the country in conducting the most HIV tests and identifying the greatest number of persons with HIV under its Expanded HIV Testing Initiative. 

District of Columbia HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Report 2008

The District of Columbia HIV/AIDS Epidemiology report highlights that the District’s HIV testing programs have greatly increased early diagnosis among residents, thus reducing the number of babies born with HIV. In 2005, 10 babies were born with HIV, by 2007 only one baby was born with the infection. The report also confirms that the District has seen a 70-percent increase in the number of people tested. Four years ago only 40,000 residents were tested, however by 2007 the number of residents tested increased to 70,000.

Additionally, the report reveals that three percent of adults and adolescents are living with HIV/AIDS in the District, with seven percent of those infected between the ages of 40 and 49. At 6.5 percent, statistics were highest among African-American males.

Heterosexual Relationships and HIV in DC

This new report is the first-ever study conducted to assess the behavioral risks of HIV among heterosexuals. The report reveals that heterosexuals are at risk of HIV because of sex outside of relationships and low condom use. This study is the first part of a new series on DC HIV Health Behavior. The study found:

  • Approximately 75 percent reported being in a committed relationship.
  • Nearly half believed their last sexual partner was having sex with someone outside of the relationship.
  • Nearly half reported they had sex outside of the relationship.
  • Nearly half did not know their last sex partner’s HIV status.
  • More than 70 percent of participants did not use condoms.

Through the Expanded HIV Testing Initiative, the District tested more than 70,000 individuals and found 464 persons with HIV.

The administration announced several steps the District is taking to address these new statistics:

  • The District is funding a community partner and working with the CDC to make couples counseling training and testing available. This action is the first-of-its-kind in the nation.
  • In 2008, three out of the seven birthing centers in the District were routinely testing pregnant women for HIV; the goal for 2009 is to make screening available at all District birthing centers.
  • The District distributed 1.5 million free condoms in 2008, making progress toward the goal of 3 million per year.
  • The Administration will continue to expand routine testing in medical settings, as three-quarters of the heterosexual participants who tested HIV-positive, didn’t know their status and hadn’t seen a healthcare provider in the past 12 months.

“Some people may think they’ve been tested for HIV just because they’ve been seen by a doctor or had blood taken, but that does not mean they have actually been checked for HIV. Our study shows that many doctors are not routinely offering or doing HIV tests,” said Dr. Pierre N.D. Vigilance, Director of the Department of Health. “This year, the District will be doing extensive outreach among our health care providers to ensure that we fully implement routine testing.”

The District recently received improved grades from the DC Appleseed Center of “A” for Surveillance, “A-” for HIV testing and “B” for condom distribution. The Fenty administration’s goal remains that no baby will be born with HIV in DC by the year 2010.

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