Call us: 1.877.283.7882 | Monday–Friday: 8:00 AM–4:30 PM ET
The HIV epidemic that has hit the nation's capitol is still far from over, but a new assessment of the situation shows that increased attention paid to the problem, including more HIV testing and better reporting and follow up of infected residents, has caused some improvement in the city's condition.
The HIV rate in Washington DC is the highest in the country, and the neglect from the federal government was likened to Katrina in a controversial series of ads earlier this year. At least 3 percent of the population has HIV or AIDS, according to data released this March, and the AIDS Health Foundation says that it is likely the official number is incorrect and the real infection rate is closer to five percent of the population, numbers which are on par with some of the hardest hit regions of Africa.
D.C. Appleseed, a non-profit dedicated to solving public policy problems in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, released its 5th annual "report card" on the state of HIV/AIDS in the capitol this week.
It applauds many moves by the local government to help combat the disease, including the fact that the city is now one of the three regions in the U.S. that administers the most HIV testing, along with Florida and New York City.
The organization improved the city's report card on HIV testing to an "A", but pushed for continued improvement, writing "Although the District can now be counted among the national leaders in promoting routine testing, even more must be done."
While the district received an excellent grade for testing, it was given a C-plus regard to HIV education in the school system.
"On numerous occasions, solid commitments to move forward with health standards and a health curriculum were not followed by action," says the report card.
"There is no question that the DC government is doing a lot right now to address this epidemic," Walter Smith, said executive director of D.C. Appleseed told the Washington Post. "At the same time, we know what the numbers are, and we are trying to offer fair grades of the city's performance measured against what more could and should be done."
There are steps being undertaken in the DC area to address a number of STD issues in the schools, not just HIV.
Expanding on a pilot program that found a surprisingly high rate of STD infection in area high-school students, every high school student in the DC public school system will be offered STD testing in the upcoming school year, according to the Post.
Last year, the program found 13 percent of students at the eight high schools where testing was conducted had a positive result on an STD test. The most common infection found was chlamydia, an unsurprising result as it is the most common STD infection in the nation. About 1.1 million cases nationwide reported to the CDC in 2007, and that number has been steadily increasing over the last several years. Gonorrhea was commonly found as well, which is in line with national trends which put that disease as among the most common in the country.
Since chlamydia is often asymptomatic, the CDC assumes that more than half of the cases in the U.S. go unreported in a year, estimating a yearly infection rate closer to 2.8 million new cases annually.
STD testing is considered essential to combating these diseases by public health experts because people who know they are infected with an STD are more likely to change their behavior to minimize risks to their partners.
Related Articles from Private MD:
News Categories:Advanced Lipid Treatment I Allergy Testing Anemia and RBC disorders Autoimmune Diseases Bariatric Lab Testing Blood and Blood Diseases Breast Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers Celiac Disease Testing Chlamydia Coagulation and blood clotting disorders Colon Diabetes DNA, Paternity and Genetic testing Drug Screening Environmental Toxin Testing Female Specific Tests Gastrointestinal Diseases General Health General Wellness Heart Health and Cholesterol Herpes HIV HIV monitoring/Treatment/Testing/Post Diagnos Hormones and Metabolism Infectious Diseases Infertility Testing-Male Infertitlity Hormone Testing Kidney Diseases Leukemia and WBC disorders Liver Liver Diseases Lyme Disease Male Specific Tests Menopause/Peri-Menopausal Diagnosis Musculoskeletal Diseases Organ Specific Testing Ovarian Prostate Sexually Transmitted Diseases Thyroid Diseases Transgender Hormone Testing-female to male Transgender Hormone Testing-Male to Female Vitamin D Deficiency-Diagnosis and Treatment
Visit the Health News Archive: Click Here