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Thread: DC AIDS rate hits epidemic levels; higher than West Africa's.

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    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Default DC AIDS rate hits epidemic levels; higher than West Africa's.

    I can't source it, but I'm watching a local DC news story about it right now. The report will be released tomorrow. Supposedly 3% of DC residents have HIV/AIDs, there has been a 21% rise in new AIDS diagnoses in DC. All of which puts the DC AIDs rate higher than western Africa's.

    EDIT: Okay I can source it!

    HIV/AIDS Rate in D.C. Hits 3%: Considered a 'Severe' Epidemic, Every Mode of Transmission Is Increasing, City Study Finds

    At least 3 percent of District residents have HIV or AIDS, a total that far surpasses the 1 percent threshold that constitutes a "generalized and severe" epidemic, according to a report scheduled to be released by health officials tomorrow.

    That translates into 2,984 residents per every 100,000 over the age of 12 -- or 15,120 -- according to the 2008 epidemiology report by the District's HIV/AIDS office.

    "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."

    "We have every mode of transmission" -- men having sex with men, heterosexual and injected drug use -- "going up, all on the rise, and we have to deal with them," Hader said.

    In addition to the epidemiology report, the city is also releasing a study on heterosexual behavior tomorrow. That report, funded by the CDC, was conducted by the George Washington University School of Health and Health Services.

    Among its findings: Almost half of those who had connections to the parts of the city with the highest AIDS prevalence and poverty rates said they had overlapping sexual partners within the past 12 months, three in five said they were aware of their own HIV status, and three in 10 said they had used a condom the last time they had sex.

    Together, the reports offer a sobering assessment in a city that for years has stumbled in combating HIV and AIDS and is just beginning to regain its footing. A more accurate accounting of the crisis offers a chance to contain what is largely a preventable disease.

    So urgent is the concern that the HIV/AIDS Administration took the relatively rare step of couching the city's infections in a percentage, harkening to 1992, when San Francisco, around the height of its epidemic, announced that 4 percent of its population was HIV positive. But the report also cautions that "we know that the true number of residents currently infected and living with HIV is certainly higher."

    The District's report found a 22 percent increase in HIV and AIDS cases from the 12,428 reported at the end of 2006, touching every race and sex across population and neighborhoods, with an epidemic level in all but one of the eight wards. Black men, with an infection rate of nearly 7 percent, carry the weight of the disease, according to the report, which also underscores that the District's HIV and AIDS population is aging. Almost 1 in 10 residents between the ages of 40 and 49 has the virus.

    The report notes that "this growing population will have significant implications on the District's health care system" as residents face chronic medical problems associated with aging and fighting a disease that compromises the immune system.

    Men having sex with men has remained the disease's leading mode of transmission. Heterosexual transmission and injection drug use closely follow, the report says. Three percent of black women carry the virus, partly a result of the increase in heterosexual transmissions.

    "This is very, very depressing news, especially considering HIV's profound impact on minority communities," said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health's program on infectious diseases. "And remember: The city's numbers are just based on people who've gotten tested."

    Ron Simmons, who is black, gay and HIV positive, said he's not shocked by the study's findings. "You have a high incidence of HIV among African Americans, and a lot of African Americans live in the city," said Simmons, who is a member of a black gay support group. "D.C. also has a high number of gay men, and HIV is high among gay black men."

    Charlene Cotton, a D.C. resident who got an HIV positive diagnosis five years ago, said breaking the taboo on discussing HIV is the key to moving forward. "You need to start at home and talk about it," Cotton said. "It's so hush-hush."

    Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said he is aware that some advocates have called on elected officials and others to more aggressively and publicly address the crisis. He praised the city's recent efforts, however, and expressed his frustration about the struggle ahead.

    "In order to solve an issue as complex as HIV and AIDS, you have to step up," he said. "It's the mayor and certainly other elected officials. But it's also the community. You have this problem affecting us, and you tell people how serious it is and it literally goes in one ear and out the other."

    David Catania (I-At Large), chairman of the D.C. Council's health committee, said that although the District's testing and monitoring have improved in the past two years, the AIDS office is still playing catch-up. The city was in the forefront of the crisis when it created the office in 1986, but it fell far behind. Hader took control in 2007. She is its 12th director and the third in five years.

    "Frankly, there can be no excuse for the state of the HIV/AIDS Administration that I found in 2005," Catania said. "I cannot speak to why it was not a priority previously. For years prior to 2005, mayors and previous individuals allowed things to exist in an unacceptable way. And I do blame this government for part of the epidemic we're confronting."

    Until recently, the District's AIDS office lacked a fully staffed surveillance unit to collect, analyze and distribute data. Inevitably, the office lost credibility, and although it has received millions in federal and local funds -- $95 million this year -- some care providers questioned whether resources were being properly allocated.

    Critics also say congressional control over the District had restricted the AIDS office's ability to combat the virus among drug injection users by banning the use of local tax dollars for a needle exchange program. After almost a decade, the ban was lifted last year.

    The study is the most precise count to date, according to the authors. The document is an update of a breakthrough 2007 report, which brought into clearer focus a picture of a city in the grip of a complex and "modern epidemic" that had traveled from a mostly gay population to the general one and disproportionately hit blacks.

    For years, District HIV/AIDS workers depended on estimates that put the rate at 1 of 20 living with HIV and 1 of 50 living with AIDS.

    The current study notes that its tracking occurred as the city made a switch from a code-based counting system to a name-based one. The surveillance unit interviewed medical providers to find unreported cases, pressed providers who did not consistently report to the administration and searched databases for unreported cases.

    More than 4 percent of blacks in the city are known to have HIV, along with almost 2 percent of Latinos and 1.4 percent of whites. More than three-quarters -- 76 percent -- of the HIV infected are black, 70 percent are men and 70 percent are age 40 and older.

    Heterosexual sex was the principal mode of transmission for blacks with the disease, 33 percent. Men having sex with men was the chief mode of transmission for white residents, 78 percent; and Latinos, 49 percent. Black women represent more than a quarter of HIV cases in the District, and most, about 58 percent, were infected through heterosexual sex. About a quarter of black women were infected through drug use.

    The companion study, "Heterosexual Relationships and HIV in Washington, D.C.," is a detailed look at those whose social networks include individuals at high risk of infection and aims to analyze people's choices and actions before they set foot in a clinic or get HIV.

    The 750-participant study targeted four areas in wards 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8 with both high rates of AIDS and poverty. Salaries of a majority of participants -- 60 percent -- were under $10,000 yearly; a similar percentage had never been married; and 43 percent were unemployed.

    The survey's methodology -- interviewing those with connections to high-risk networks rather than those who exhibit high-risk behavior themselves -- highlights a shift in the direction by the CDC, which developed the survey protocol.

    There is good news in the AIDS office's report: More people are getting HIV diagnoses early, while they are still healthy, as a result of a policy of routine testing implemented by the city in mid-2006. Publicly supported HIV testing expanded by 70 percent.

    Walter Smith, executive director of the DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, praised the study but also lamented that it did not offer more current data on new infections. The report said that detailed information on new HIV cases is not included because the transition from the code-based tracking system to a name-based one takes five years to be mature, according to the CDC.
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    "I'm not criticizing them for that," he said. "But we've had more testing, more needle exchange programs. We don't have, at this moment, any understanding about what impact the new programs have had."

    Staff writers Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.

    washingtonpost.com - nation, world, technology and Washington area news and headlines

    (apparently I copied & pasted it right before it became subscriber only? BUt if you go to the homepage and go to the far-right under Most Viewed articles, you'll see it)

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    I bet a lot of down low men go searching for trade, don't wear condoms and take this disease back home.
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    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    Not that my statistics mean anything, but I used to live there and have several friends that are living with HIV and a few friends that have died of AIDS. People have gotten way too complacent with this disease.

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    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by *DIVA! View Post
    I bet a lot of down low men go searching for trade, don't wear condoms and take this disease back home.
    Diva, can you explain the thing behind 'down low'? why does it seem to exist more in the black community than others? Or is this a complete myth? I've heard snippets about it but haven't really paid much attention bc it seemed like such a tiny segment of the population. I don't really understand what has led to the creation of an entire 'down low' community in one race versus any other.

    But if DC is any case study, and many would argue that it is, then the 'down low' factor is a major point in this rise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by *DIVA! View Post
    I bet a lot of down low men go searching for trade, don't wear condoms and take this disease back home.
    You know it-they don't care about wife,children-nothing else.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cali View Post
    Diva, can you explain the thing behind 'down low'? why does it seem to exist more in the black community than others? Or is this a complete myth? I've heard snippets about it but haven't really paid much attention bc it seemed like such a tiny segment of the population. I don't really understand what has led to the creation of an entire 'down low' community in one race versus any other.

    But if DC is any case study, and many would argue that it is, then the 'down low' factor is a major point in this rise.
    Down low men are men who love having sex with other men, but they are either married with children, or have long-term girlfriends. This is rampant in the black community because they are either ashamed of being gay, or scared of being disowned by family or friends. So they go to elaborate extremes to have a 'perfect' heterosexual relationship so no one will know that they are sexing men on the side, and nine times of of ten they aren't having protected sex with these men, and they take the disease back home to their ever loving always trusting women. How do she know he is out there sexing every man from the kids soccer coach to the deacon at the church? How do you as a wife ask your husband to use a condom? What are you to do as a wife of a preacher when yo come home early from a trip to find your preacher husband having an all male orgy with several other preachers from different churches?
    Baltimore O's ​Fan!

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    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by *DIVA! View Post
    Down low men are men who love having sex with other men, but they are either married with children, or have long-term girlfriends. This is rampant in the black community because they are either ashamed of being gay, or scared of being disowned by family or friends. So they go to elaborate extremes to have a 'perfect' heterosexual relationship so no one will know that they are sexing men on the side, and nine times of of ten they aren't having protected sex with these men, and they take the disease back home to their ever loving always trusting women. How do she know he is out there sexing every man from the kids soccer coach to the deacon at the church? How do you as a wife ask your husband to use a condom? What are you to do as a wife of a preacher when yo come home early from a trip to find your preacher husband having an all male orgy with several other preachers from different churches?
    That's so sad. What do you think the sociological underpinnings of that are? Is it that the community in general fosters a great rejection of gay men? Or has it become a sort of interesting secret for these men to keep and get it on the side for their ego? Are they actually straight and just want more sex, or are they repressed homosexuals?

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KrisNine View Post
    Not that my statistics mean anything, but I used to live there and have several friends that are living with HIV and a few friends that have died of AIDS. People have gotten way too complacent with this disease.
    I very much agree. I don't know what it is but it seems like people don't realize what a killer AIDs still is. Why the complacency? By the time you get a bloods test to see why you have been feeling like shyte and get the news that you have the virus, it's too late, it's a death sentence.

    I think many people, many guys, think they are impervious to it. Maybe people nowadays have a false sense of security in that there are drugs and treatments to "cure" AIDs. They look at guys like Magic Johnson and think hey it's not so bad. Maybe they think that in a few more years there's going to be a cure or some immunization.

    This virus continues to mutate. It seems like things are going back to the early years of AIDs.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I personally know 3 people with HIV.. 2 were self destructive and just didn't care, one of them was actually on some weird mission to kill himself... except now they both found a new lease on life, oddly. I had to hold one all night long while he cried after he found out.

    The third got it, despite playing safe.. was totally beside himself cuz he played by all the rules, used protection, but it must have failed somewhere along the way.

    Sex is effing scary these days.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by *DIVA! View Post
    What are you to do as a wife of a preacher when yo come home early from a trip to find your preacher husband having an all male orgy with several other preachers from different churches?
    Call every single wife & make it as public as possible. Did that really happen or is that just an example?
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Only 3 in 10 used a condom?! It's not like those things are hard to get, there isn't an excuse for NOT using one.
    ""Somebody needs to talk to Alex Castellanos: he may not be doing sex right if he thinks an Obama speech is 'like sex'."~ Rush Limbaugh

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chattykathy View Post
    Only 3 in 10 used a condom?! It's not like those things are hard to get, there isn't an excuse for NOT using one.
    If you're in a long term commitment or marriage...why would you use them?

    McJag from what I was told it's a true story...
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    Elite Member cynic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cali View Post
    Are they actually straight and just want more sex, or are they repressed homosexuals?
    ...men that have sex with other men are gay....whether they admit it to themselves and others or not......

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    I read this in the paper yesterday.
    Sad. People need to practice safe sex. It's awful.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    OMG this is tragic, a worst fear realized

    im worried im with a downlow man i'll ask him again later...

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