(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser released the HIV, STD, Hepatitis, and TB Surveillance Report for the District of Columbia and spotlighted on DC’s progress toward ending the HIV epidemic in Washington, DC. The DC Health report shows that the number of new HIV cases decreased by the widest margin in the past five years, demonstrating that efforts to accelerate key prevention and treatment strategies are proving effective. The District achieved 90% of DC residents with HIV knowing their status, the first goal in the Mayor’s 90/90/90/50 Plan to End the HIV Epidemic in Washington, DC by 2020.
“Our partnerships with the community have continued to yield promising results to both stem and reduce new HIV cases, while also delivering better and more efficient treatment to residents living with HIV,” said Mayor Bowser. “Our goal of ending the HIV epidemic in DC is not yet done, and we will continue to work to ensure equity in services, reduce stigma as an access barrier, make testing easier, support needle exchange, and keep people HIV negative.”
The key HIV data in this year’s report include:
- The number of newly diagnosed HIV cases in the District decreased to 282 cases in 2019, a 16% decrease from 335 in 2018; overall, there has been a 79% decline from 1,374 cases in 2007.
- There were two babies born with HIV in 2019.
- The number of newly diagnosed HIV cases attributable to injection drug use decreased by 99% from 150 cases in 2007, prior to the scale up of DC’s needle exchange program, to 2 cases in 2019.
- 12,408 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 2.8%.
- There were 9,337 cases of chlamydia, 4,374 cases of gonorrhea, and 297 cases of primary and secondary syphilis reported in 2019.
- There were 1,099 people with newly reported hepatitis C in 2019.
- There were 24 cases of TB in 2019, a 33% decrease from 36 in 2018.
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, 62% were linked to medical care within seven days of diagnosis, and 81% within 30 days.
Among people newly diagnosed with HIV, 59% were virally suppressed within 90 days, which is an improvement from 45% in 2018. However, this indicates that not enough people are getting on HIV treatment timely to attain viral suppression. Residents can visit LinkUDMV.org, an online directory 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.
“DC Health recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way DC residents obtain medical care and other services,” said Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Director, DC Health. “We are expanding telehealth options and home-based testing to give residents the opportunity to take charge of their health.”
In June, DC Health started a new opportunity to provide DC residents free, at-home HIV test kits. DC offers the OraQuick rapid HIV test kit which allows a person to self-swab their mouth to get a result in 20 minutes. Residents can get information and order a test for mailing to their DC address at GetCheckedDC.org. DC Health will be adding at-home STD test kits this month.