(Washington, DC) – Today the District of Columbia Department of Health (DOH) released the latest version of the “Interim HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report.” This document presents preliminary data showing the seventh consecutive decrease in annual new HIV cases in the District of Columbia during 2014.
“Last year, I announced the bold goal to cut in half new HIV cases in the District by the year 2020,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Today, we continue to make progress toward that goal and take new approaches that will enable us to ultimately end the epidemic in our city.”
The report shows 396 new HIV cases in 2014, a 29% decrease from the 553 cases reported in 2013. This is also a 70% decrease from 1,333 cases in 2007 when the highest number of HIV cases were reported. This interim report also contains new data reporting elements for DOH, including: new HIV cases among transgender persons and a new reporting category of HIV transmission.
For the first time, DOH will define known transmission for all new cases by sexual contact and/or injection drug use. This approach is inclusive across sex, gender and types of sexual intercourse, acknowledging the diversity in gender identity among District residents. With this data reporting, DOH aims to reduce stigmatization on sexual contact and prevent the misclassification of transgender cases. DOH will report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defined sexual modes of transmission for men and women. For transgender persons, DOH will utilize general sexual contact and injection drug use modes of transmission categories thus reducing stigmatization and enhancing the quality of reported data.
“We are promoting an inclusive approach to the HIV epidemic as part of our strategy to reduce barriers and develop effective and scientific-based strategies to achieve a HIV-free generation in the District,” said Dr. Nesbitt.
DOH notes that the data is preliminary and has limitations. There are reporting delays that can affect the timeliness and completeness of HIV/AIDS case reporting. This gives DOH staff time to ensure that all reports are complete. DOH will issue its comprehensive and complete surveillance report of HIV, Hepatitis, STD and TB data for the year 2014 this coming summer.
The interim report is available on the DOH web site at www.doh.dc.gov/hahsta.