WASHINGTON, DC – The Bowser Administration today released the District’s 2018 HIV, STD, Hepatitis, and TB Surveillance Report for the District of Columbia. The report from DC Health shows there was continued improvement in the health outcomes of people living with HIV and that the number of new HIV diagnoses remained level in 2017. DC Health also announced a new Drug Assistance Program, PrEP DAP, which will assist people with obtaining Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a highly effective HIV prevention treatment. The program, to be launched later this year, will cover medication co-pays and costs for eligible participants.
“In the past decade, we have made tremendous progress in reducing the number of new HIV infections but we still face challenges,” said Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Director of the DC Department of Health. “This report underscores why we take a vigorous and comprehensive approach to achieving the Mayor’s 90/90/90/50 Plan to end the HIV epidemic in DC.”
The key points in this year’s report include:
- 13,003 DC residents, or 1.9% of the population, are living with HIV;
- Newly diagnosed HIV cases remained level at 368 cases, a decline of 49% from 2007;
- There were no babies born with HIV in 2017;
- Newly diagnosed HIV cases attributable to injection drug use decreased by 95% from 2007
- New HIV diagnoses increased among young people ages 13-29, men who have sex with men, and Latinos. There was a decrease among heterosexual men;
- Black men through sex with men and black women through heterosexual contact have the highest proportion of newly diagnosed HIV
- There was a 35% increase of chlamydia, a 56% increase of gonorrhea, and a 13% increase of primary and secondary syphilis from 2013 to 2017.
In addition, there were significant increases in reported STDs, reflecting the District’s enhanced screening efforts. DC Health works extensively with health and community-based organizations on sexual health by offering testing and counseling, prevention education and intervention, free condoms, medical support, free medication and insurance, housing, nutrition, personal care, emergency services, and direct services. Additionally, DC Health is expanding sexual health services, particularly to young people, women, gay/bisexual/same gender loving men, and Latinos, and incorporating health equity into the agency’s approach.
This year’s report identifies significant opportunities for the District to accelerate its efforts to achieve the Mayor’s HIV, STD, hepatitis, and TB goals. It includes increasing the use of Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP and PEP) and enhanced promotion and education of Undetectable equals Untransmittable, or U=U, the science-confirmed approach of persons with HIV who take daily medication and achieve “viral load suppression” cannot transmit HIV to other persons. Additionally, DC Health is expanding sexual health services, particularly to young people, women, gay/bisexual/same gender loving men, and Latinos, and incorporating health equity into its approach DC Health has also launched a new sexual health campaign called Sexual + Being that helps direct residents to an array of programs and services, and to break down barriers to obtaining information on sexual health. The campaign will combine existing campaigns such as DC Takes on HIV, and #PrEPforher.