D.C. releases HIV/AIDS annual report
Today, the District released its annual report on the fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
City leaders say the latest numbers show great progress, but they're still in an epidemic state.
Before highlighting some key findings in the Department of Health study, Mayor Vincent Gray said, "I think we're turning a corner."
"The number of newly reported HIV cases has decreased by 46-percent during the period 2007 to 2011," said Gray.
More specifically, the number went down from more than 13-hundred cases in 2007 to 718 in 2011.
DC Department of Health Director Dr. Joxel Garcia said, "This is something that the nation has to know because what we're talking right now, the models that we're using in DC, we can help other jurisdictions in the nation and the world."
The report also showed great improvements in the number of newly diagnosed seeking treatment in 2011.
"80 percent were linked to care in three months," said Gray.
Guy Jenkins-Bass was a part of some of the statistics. Diagnosed with HIV at 18, he's now a patient at the Whitman Walker Health center.
"You do everything here, you don't have to go nowhere else and when you go to other places, it's a different effect." said Jenkins-Bass.
The model at Whitman Walker is just one part of the formula that health advocates say is working citywide.
"Massive testing, efforts to link people to care...We had community groups that used to not talk to one another who have been in this fight for more than two decades and they're finally working together and saying you know what--it's about the people," said Don Blanchon, Executive Director at Whitman-Walker Health.
But here's the reality: more than 15,000 DC residents were still living with HIV in 2011.
Gray said, "The epidemic continues to disproportionately affect people who are African American, Latino and GLBT."
Also, reports of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are all up from 2010, with more than 9300 new cases in 2011.
The full DOH report can be found here.