Study: 25,000 in District may have HIV

Twenty Five Thousand. 1 in 25 District residents. That’s how bad the DC HIV/AIDS Epidemic has become, according to today’s Post. That’s an explosion of known cases over a 2004 report that suggested that there were only 16,000 reported cases in DC between 1981 and 2004, and cited only 9,000 still living with the disease.

Today, the District is launching a six month testing campaign getting people from 14 to 84 tested for HIV and AIDS, with a kickoff event going on right now at Freedom Plaza. Today is National HIV/AIDS Testing Day and you can get tested FREE today at a number of DC area locations. I found 75 places offering free tests today, within a 15 mile radius of downtown DC.

It’s better to know than NOT know. An estimated 25% of people who have AIDS or HIV don’t know they are carrying the disease. HIV and AIDS are also no longer the death sentence they once were, with new “cocktail” treatments, the disease is manageable. Go, get tested, find out for sure. There are 20 minute tests that are 99.8% accurate, not needle-based, and the District has a whole host of services available if you test positive. It’s better to know than NOT know.

Other Resources:

Arlington HIV and AIDS group

Alexandria HIV and AIDS group

Montgomery County HIV and AIDS information (no specific department and finding this was hard)

Prince George’s County Services PDF (PDF format, sorry, their website sucks.)

Fairfax County Testing Only (as their website also sucks.)

8 Comments so far

  1. wayan (unregistered) on June 27th, 2006 @ 2:27 pm

    Check you fear-mongering, Tom. The direct quote from the Post article is “As many as 25,000 people in the District may have HIV“.

    Note is says that “As many as”, not “At least..” which means they are “extrapolating from annual estimates” not reporting the actual number. Then, they say “may have HIV” not “may have AIDS”. Testing positive for HIV does not mean you actually have AIDS, it only means you could develop AIDS.

    Last, but not least, there are those who say diabetes is now worse than HIV and heart disease is by far the leading killer in DC at 40% of all deaths compared to HIV at 5%

    So while I do not minimize the tragedy that is HIV/AIDS, do not be fooled to thinking that it is the great epidemic the press may hype it up to be.

  2. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on June 27th, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

    Right, but Heart Disease isn’t sexually transmitted, nor is Diabetes. The spread of HIV/AIDS can definitely be prevented by education of the populace, whereas heart disease and diabetes are conditions that are often rooted in genes and don’t spontaneously appear.

    I’ve changed the title, as you’re right, I thought HIV but typed AIDS instead. Either way, it’s a serious, serious matter, and if cases are growing…then we need to do more education. Just because Heart Disease is the big killer today doesn’t mean HIV/AIDS couldn’t be in a few years.

  3. Don (unregistered) on June 27th, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

    Diabetes may kill more than HIV, and I do not dismiss the importance of diagnosis and treatment, but undiagnosed diabetes has never, to my knowledge, resulted in giving someone else diabetes.

    Similarly, knowing there’s more people out there with diabetes than you think doesn’t help you take steps to prevent them from giving you diabetes.

    Also worth mentioning, the whole host of services isn’t as extensive as it once was. At last announcement the Walker-Whitman Clinics were almost a full 1M short in their budget. Several clinics are only still open because of a one-time grant from the cities they are in.

  4. wayan (unregistered) on June 27th, 2006 @ 3:21 pm

    Heart disease and adult-onset diabetes might not be sexually transmitted, but they are conditions that are often rooted in personal choice and actions – diet, inactivity, and obesity – and like HIV, can be reduced by education of the populace.

    And while there is no direct transmission of either heart disease or diabetes, there is a strong correlation between parent obesity and child obesity. Childhood obesity being a wonderful indicator of adult heart disease and adult-onset diabetes

    So in my humble opinion, I believe we should see more headlines about heart disease, the District’s #1 killer by far, than HIV.

  5. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on June 27th, 2006 @ 3:46 pm

    Which is why, again, you’re foolish and wrong, Wayan.

  6. Don (unregistered) on June 27th, 2006 @ 5:20 pm

    I can see your point about pure numbers of sufferers, but I think you overlook the exponential progression that an infectious disease follows. If today there’s 10 HIV carriers and 100 heart disease sufferers, that’s 10 individuals who can infect someone else with HIV. The number of people suffering from heart disease has no impact on the number of people who will be suffering from it tomorrow.

    Consequently, keeping the numbers of infected individuals down in the HIV population translates directly towards keeping future numbers down. The same is not the case with heart disease and diabetes. Also, it’s theoretically possible to completely or mostly eliminate HIV by stopping further infections, a la polio.

    Both are important, however the diabetes and heart disease message (at least when it comes to lifestyle impact) is out there in a number of other forms with regards to healthier living. It’s a discussion people have openly that’s without stigma. Again, not the case with regards to HIV.

  7. wayan (unregistered) on June 27th, 2006 @ 6:00 pm

    Don – We may have the discussion about heart disease and diabetes without stigma, but unlike HIV, their infection & death rates are not dropping or decreasing, which HIV has been doing for the past decade.

    Seems we may be discussing healthier living, but unlike safer sex, folks aren’t taking the message seriously yet.

    In addition, heart disease and diabetes have the potential to strike a much greater segment of the population than HIV. I have to actually have unprotected, invasive, sex with an exchange of bodily fluids at the blood level with a HIV+ person to get HIV.

    Heart disease – all that takes is a few months of Super Sizing it at the nearest drive-up window.

  8. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on June 27th, 2006 @ 6:20 pm

    You’re trivializing heart disease, Wayan. It’s not as simple as a few super-sized meals, not in the least, as heart disease is often genetically pre-disposed, unlike HIV/AIDS which is only contracted through sharing of bodily fluids through sex, drugs or rock-n-roll.

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