“We have rates higher than West Africa.”

A report, being released tomorrow, will announce the HIV infection rate in Washington, D.C., has increased 22% since the end of 2006. The District’s 3% HIV prevalence rate is above the 1% threshold — “generalized and severe” — and indicates that efforts to contain the spread have been unsuccessful.

“Our rates are higher than West Africa,” said Shannon L. Hader, director of the District’s HIV/AIDS Administration, who once led the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s work in Zimbabwe. “They’re on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya.

The report highlights the increasing incidence among several population groups. D.C.’s Mayor emphasized that the report also re-affirms the need to discuss HIV infection openly and proactively. The report also exposes weaknesses in the distribution of funding and a political struggle in providing resources to the District — because of Congressional control, a ban on needle-exchange programs, which was in effect for a decade, was lifted last year. These political and ideological roadblocks create concrete, real-life policies that can increase the severity of a health crisis.

Read more about the report, before its release tomorrow, from the Washington Post.

-Until There’s A Cure


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