Washington, D.C., Sees Fewer HIV Cases
New HIV/AIDS data released by the D.C. government Wednesday show fewer new cases and fewer deaths in 2012 than years prior, but infection levels remain at epidemic rates in the District, officials said.
According to data compiled by the District’s health department, 680 new HIV cases were reported, down from 722 new cases in 2011 and 1,180 in 2008. And 221 HIV-positive city residents died in 2012, down from 345 in 2008 and 229 in 2011, with fewer of those 2012 deaths due to causes related to the infection.
More than 16,000 city residents lived with HIV in 2012, representing a steady rise that city officials attribute to more thorough testing, better treatment and rising survival rates.
“Treatment is working,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D). “People are living much longer than they used to live.”
The new numbers represent ongoing and unmistakable progress in a city where, five years ago, a health official shocked many by declaring that D.C.’s HIV infection rate was “on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya.” A city government that has in the past fumbled its response to the virus and squandered vast resources now seems to have found its footing.