In DC, the rate of HIV infection almost doubles for some poor black women.
Sabrina Heard, 55, who is HIV positive and works as a community health worker at the Women's Collective in Washington, passed an HIV test in September. (Nikki Kahn / The Washington Post)
By Lena H. Sun
June 20st, 2012
The HIV infection rate for heterosexual African American women in the district's poorest neighborhoods has almost doubled in two years, from 6,3 percent to 12,1 percent, according to a study released Wednesday by the Department of DC health.
The large increase reflects broader testing of people who were unaware of their condition and possibly an even increasing rate of new infections in this high-risk group, officials said.
Pandemic, endemic or what?
The disease continues to epidemic levels in Washington. Disclosing the study, district health officials announced new recommendations for doctors and other health professionals to start treatment immediately for all newly diagnosed people with HIV, rather than waiting for evidence that someone's immune system was severely impaired. damaged.
Washington is preparing to host the International AIDS Conference next month, the first time that the global meeting has returned to the United States in more than two decades. District authorities seek to highlight the city's progress in combating the epidemic.
On Wednesday, officials also released the Department of Health's annual update on HIV / AIDS, which showed a drop in the overall number of new AIDS cases over four years and improvements in the rapid care of infected people. For example, 76,1 percent of infected people were connected to care within three months of diagnosis in 2010, compared to 58 percent in 2006.
The DC Department of Health reports an increase in the percentage of heterosexual residents testing HIV positive, especially among women. (The Washington Post / Source: DC Department of Health). O Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), in a statement, mentioned that a quick connection to the service was one of the many achievements of the city.
The annual snapshot also gives a more accurate picture than in previous reports for the number of people living with HIV or AIDS because of an improved tracking system that eliminates duplication. There were 14.465 people, or about 2,7 percent of District residents over 12, who were living with HIV or AIDS in 2010, the year covered by the report. This prevalence rate - the total percentage of people in a population with the condition or disease at any given time - is among the highest in any city in the United States.
More worrying were data on infection rates from heterosexuals living in areas of the District with HIV prevalence and low income, predominantly in wards 7 and 8. The District is one of 21 cities in an ongoing survey funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Behavior Prevention in three target populations: heterosexuals at high risk of HIV infection, men who have sex with men and injecting drug users.
In 2008, the survey sampled 750 heterosexuals in areas with high rates of infection and poverty and found an overall infection rate of 5,2% among that group and an infection rate of 6,3% among women at risk.
In 2010, these rates rose to 8% and 12,1%, respectively. The demographics of the study of 482 participants were similar to those of 2008: almost all black, 62% earning less than US $ 10.000 and 37% unemployed.
The survey interviewed individuals with connections to high-risk social networks. In these social networks, HIV infection is high and the chances of infection are greater, officials said.
Greg Pappas, senior director of the DC Department of Health, said it is difficult to know whether the increase represents new infections. The sample size is also limited, he said.
However, he said, "We continue to have a very serious heterosexual epidemic."
Unlike other cities where the at-risk population may be concentrated among intravenous drug users or men who have sex with men, Washington has a “mixed epidemic”, with a huge burden falling on heterosexual African Americans.
Officials said 90 percent of all women with HIV are black.
Pappas estimated that 20 to 30 percent of the HIV-positive population in the District "is probably infected and doesn't know it," he said.
Oother experts said that findings of the study are worrisome.
HIV epidemic among heterosexuals may be more significant
Have you heard of “concentrated poverty? How Canned Tomato Pasta?
Why isn't that? It is a place, a region of a city, like the East Zone of sampa, which they dare to call “dormitory”.
That's it! A place where they direct poor people, with “popular housing ', where they themselves would not live, to sleep, to vegetate and, one day, to die, while producing, earning little. This is concentrated poverty and, in general, black people live there.
I have (had) a friend who once told me that I was also a “right-wing” person, because right-wing people care about the people, about the poor.
Yes, I re-quoted: How to keep the poor alive for as long as possible, and properly accommodated, so that they make the most of it!
This is your main concern, you bastards!
Other experts said the study's findings are worrying.
"While recognizing the limitations of a sample-based study, it appears that the HIV epidemic among heterosexuals may be more significant than the previous study estimated," said Michael Rhein, senior vice president at the Institute for Public Health Innovation, a group without for-profit organization that coordinates various regional programs to support people with HIV / AIDS.
He called the new rates alarming. In the worst case scenario, he said, they reflect "a real increase in the rate of HIV among heterosexuals and women living in areas of concentrated poverty".