Nothing interrupts the hangover from a week of gluttony like a reminder of what kind of city we actually live in.

The "one in twenty DC residents have HIV" statistic has been bandied about ever since I moved here in 2001. It's such a devastating thing to hear and there's such a great temptation to dismiss that as unlikely. I mean, that's over 100,000 27,000 people!* And, yeah, it looks like that could be the truth.

Jesus Christ.

The District's AIDS rate is the worst of any city in the country, nearly twice the rate in New York and more than four times the incidence in Detroit, and it has been climbing faster than that of many jurisdictions.


But the data made public today expose an alarming dimension of pediatric HIV. Each of the three dozen District children to test positive in the past five years was infected during birth.

"This is a line that should be zero"

I added that last excerpt because it shows how far behind we are in dealing with this epidemic. People aren't getting tested and they're harming their children as a result.

Although the spread of HIV and AIDS in Washington is mostly limited to the city's black community, the number of new HIV and AIDS cases for other ethnic groups over the past few years is still in the hundreds. And if there's anyone out there still deluded enough to think of HIV as a "gay disease," please note that heterosexual sexual contact is spreading the disease at a greater rate than homosexual sexual contact. So, no one is safe.

When's the last time you got tested?

*Ugh, I am an idiot. I got so riled up over the "1 in 20" thing that I went with 20% and this obviously very, very wrong. Stupid mental fart. Sorry.


  1. Yikes, scary story. I get tested yearly, most recently a few months back. Hearing news like this makes me want to keep my junk hidden away and adopt a life of celibacy. Since my arrival here in 2003, I’ve found the dating pool in DC to be quite abysmal. And this used to bother me as I was never dating anyone and rarely getting laid. Now I see maybe I'm lucky to not be out playing around in this dirty, dirty city.

    Oh well, at least there’s always masturbation. :o)

  2. Math is hard, but last time I checked, the population of DC wasn't over 2,000,000, so I'm pretty sure there aren't over 100,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in DC.

  3. Yes, 100,000 people would be 20% of the DC population. "1 in 20" = 5%, or fewer than 30,000 people. An astounding number, true, but let's not overstate it.

  4. 3 dozen children in DC? That is messed up. I just read the numbers for Germany, and that entire country of over 80 million people only has 25 pediatric AIDS cases.

  5. Maybe this latest report will cause DC's black churches to stop ignoring AIDS? I mean, I understand why they ignored it back when they could claim it was a gay white disease, but now that it's clearly not, maybe we can hope their hate will actually be tempered a bit by compassion, if only because it's happening to them now?

  6. Aren't these churches (Black, white or other) not talking about AIDS rates because then it means that the good church folk are actually having sex? I don't think the issue is homophobia. Churches don't want to talk about sex, period. They don't talk about condoms and they sure as heck don't want to admit that teens and others are having unprotected, pre-marital sex. God forbid.