District cites drop in new HIV/AIDS cases

Muriel Bowser is the D.C. mayor. (Brian Kapur/The Current/February 2016)

The District marked World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 with a Red Carnation Affair event, featuring information about D.C.-based resources and volunteer opportunities to fight HIV/AIDS, informational workshops, and an activity to assemble health kits and care packages for residents affected by the epidemic.

The event took place at the Reeves Center at 14th and U streets NW and was co-hosted two District agencies — Serve DC and the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs — as well as the LoveLife Foundation and DC Center, two local nonprofits. Mayor Muriel Bowser was among the speakers at the event.

“For nine consecutive years, we have been able to decrease the number of new HIV cases in the District, and when residents are diagnosed with HIV, they are getting care faster and they are starting — and staying on — treatments that we know are effective,” Bowser said in a release.

On last year’s World AIDS Day, Bowser released the District’s 90/90/90/50 plan, which sets four main goals for the District to achieve by 2020: that 90 percent of residents with HIV know their status, 90 percent of residents diagnosed with HIV are in treatment, 90 percent of residents in treatment achieve viral load suppression and the number of new HIV cases in the District declines by 50 percent.

In 2016, 347 people were newly diagnosed with HIV, a decrease of 52 percent from 720 in 2011 and a 73 percent decline from 2007 levels, according to the release. The number of newly diagnosed cases attributable to injection drug use fell by 95 percent from 2007 to 2016. About 13,000 District residents currently live with HIV, representing 1.9 percent of the population.