Rate of HIV Testing Up, New AIDS Cases Down in D.C.

Health department implemented CDC screening recommendations starting in 2006
By Lindsey Marcellin
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- In Washington, D.C., where the HIV case rate is nearly 10 times the U.S. rate, the proportion of the population tested for HIV has increased and the rate of newly diagnosed AIDS cases has decreased in recent years, according to a report published in the June 25 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In 2006, the D.C. Department of Health initiated implementation of CDC recommendations for routine, voluntary HIV screening. According to the report, the rate of newly diagnosed AIDS cases fell from 164 per 100,000 in 2004 to 107 per 100,000 in 2008. The number and rate of newly diagnosed cases were higher among blacks/African-Americans than among Hispanics/Latinos and whites. During 2004 to 2008, blacks/African-Americans accounted for 86 percent of new AIDS diagnoses. In addition, during 2005 to 2007, data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System showed a rise in the proportion of the Washington, D.C., population that had been tested for HIV within the past 12 months, from 15 to 19 percent.

According to a separate report in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, from 2000 to 2007, 169 new HIV infections in Rhode Island -- 15 percent of all incident HIV infections in the state -- were identified by routine HIV testing of jailed individuals within 24 hours of detainment. According to the report, if testing had been delayed for a week, 72 of the detainees would have been released before being tested.

"Although the causes of the improvement in these indicators are unknown and cannot be linked to any specific intervention, they suggest improvements in the delivery of HIV testing and linkage to care services in D.C.," according to the first report.

Full Text - D.C. Report
Full Text - Rhode Island Report

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