(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser released the District’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Administration (HAHSTA) annual report and highlighted DC’s progress toward ending the HIV epidemic in Washington, DC. The report from DC Health shows there was continued improvement in the health outcomes of people living with HIV and a slight decrease in the number of new HIV diagnoses in 2018.
“By working hand in hand with our community partners, we have been able to not only prevent new cases, but also more quickly deliver treatment to residents who are diagnosed with HIV,” said Mayor Bowser. “This year’s report once again provides a roadmap for how we can continue working together to increase access to services and move closer to reaching the goals laid out in the 90/90/90/50 plan.”
The key HIV data in this year’s report include:
- The number of newly diagnosed HIV cases in the District decreased to 360 cases in 2018 (from 373 in 2017); overall, there has been a 73% decline from 1,374 cases in 2007
- There were no babies born with HIV in 2018
- 12,322 current residents of Washington, DC, or 1.8% of the population, are living with HIV; Black and Latino residents with HIV exceeded 1% of their respective populations, with Black residents disproportionately impacted at 2.7%
- There were 9,007 cases of chlamydia, 4,249 cases of gonorrhea, and 282 cases of primary and secondary syphilis reported
- There were 1,515 people with newly reported hepatitis C in 2018
- For the first time, more than half of people living with HIV in DC are older than 50 years old
- The number of new HIV diagnoses among young people ages 20-24 remained level for the past three years; young people ages 13-24 represent 20% of new HIV diagnoses
- Sexual contact is the leading mode of transmission reported among newly diagnosed and identified HIV cases
DC Health tracks the District’s efforts to improve the care continuum for people living with HIV to sustain their health from diagnosis to linkage and retention in care. The care continuum measures people linked to care, engaged in treatment, and achieving viral load suppression. People reaching viral suppression attain better health outcomes and cannot transmit HIV sexually to other people, known as Undetectable equals Untransmittable, or U=U. Among people newly diagnosed with HIV, 57% were linked to medical care within seven days of diagnosis, and 84% within 30 days. The report confirms people getting on treatment quicker as the more than two-thirds achieved viral suppression within six months. Also, DC is close to reaching one of the Mayor’s goals with 85% of persons on treatment having attained viral suppression.
DC Health is launching a new online directory called LinkU to help people find a full range of services offered by medical and community providers, including health, sexual health, food/nutrition, housing, transportation, financial assistance, education, and employment in the metropolitan area. LinkU will also help people make appointments at the locations. Residents can visit LinkUDMV.org, beginning September 1.
In 2016, Mayor Bowser released the 90/90/90/50 Plan to End the HIV Epidemic in the District of Columbia by 2020. Earlier this year, the US Department of Health and Human Services included the District as part of the new Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative, along with 48 counties, seven rural states, and San Juan, Puerto Rico where half of all new HIV diagnoses are located nationally.
“DC Health with its public-private collaborators DC Appleseed Center and Washington AIDS Partnership along with ideas from the DC community will update the 90/90/90/50 Plan to accelerate our goal to be among the first cities in the country to end the HIV epidemic,” said Michael Kharfen, Senior Deputy Director, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD & TB Administration at DC Health.
Key strategies in the updated plan will include making Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post Exposure Prophylaxis to prevent new HIV infections widely and easily available, start people with HIV on treatment on or about the day they are diagnosed, promote the science of U=U to improve keeping people on treatment, and reduce stigma associated with HIV, among other innovative approaches.