Washington DC: U.S. AIDS Capital

When it was established as the U.S. capital, it (Washington DC) was kept apart from states and put under congressional management.

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

Washington, D.C., has the highest rate of AIDS in the United States, and more babies are born with the AIDS virus in Washington than in other U.S. cities, according to a report released on Monday.

People living in Washington also are not getting tested for HIV and show up with advanced infections that progress quickly to AIDS, the report by city health officials found.

The report found that Washington, with a population of around 600,000 people, has a rate of 128 AIDS cases per 100,000 people in 2006, compared with a national rate of 14 cases per 100,000. The city accounted for 9 percent of all pediatric AIDS cases in the United States during 2005.

“The District’s rate for newly reported AIDS cases is higher than rates in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Detroit and Chicago,” the report said.

Of the 12,428 people infected with HIV in Washington, 80 percent are black, the report found. More than 8,300 had fully progressed to AIDS and 224 died of AIDS in 2006

Population / Demographic Map

“Heterosexual contact in the District is the leading mode of HIV transmission at 37 percent of newly reported infections, while nationally men who have sex with men lead new transmissions,” it said.

The report, the first to look at the HIV epidemic in Washington specifically, found that nearly 70 percent of all people with HIV developed full-blown AIDS within a year, which means they were diagnosed years after having been infected.

This compares with 39 percent nationally.

Dr. Shannon Hader of Washington’s Department of Health said the report does not examine why Washington is hit so hard by the human immunodeficiency virus.