3.15.2009

Got AIDS?



Image: Posters from a French AIDS awareness campaign. The CDC reports today that three percent of residents of Washington, D.C., have HIV-AIDS, a rate higher than Western Africa and equivalent to Uganda and parts of Kenya.

The generation gap widens like the fault line in the “Big One” when California goes seaward and now the mood seems spoiled.

Only 21, the young woman seems willing and unafraid. I met her four hours ago.

“What, do you have AIDS or something?” she asks, frowning as I unwrap a condom.

As many of us recall Ryan White amid the dawn of the age of HIV-AIDS, some in the younger generation see a reawakening of the sexual revolution interrupted briefly during the 1980s and ‘90s—before their time. Indeed, researchers in Berlin said in November that they’d apparently cured at least one patient, though that particular stem cell treatment remains wildly impractical for even insured patients in the developed world, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. As we approach an era of personalized medicine with individually sequenced genomes, researchers every week glean increasingly more knowledge about penetrating the cellular world.

But as the AIDS epidemic stabilizes for the rest of the developed world and new infections fall short of predictions in China and Russia, the District of Columbia faces an absolute pandemic with three percent of the population carrying the HIV virus. Health officials say that at least 15,120 residents carry the infection, though many remain unaware.

“Our rates are higher than West Africa,” says Shannon Hader, director of the District’s HIV/AIDS Administration, who once led CDC work in Zimbabwe. “They’re on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya.”

Though the District receives direct federal funding (including $95 million in fiscal-year 2009) to fight the pandemic, David Catania (Independent, At-Large), chairman of the D.C. Council’s health committee, told the Washington Post that previous mayors (and crackheads) had until a few years ago not considered deadly infectious disease to be a priority for the city.

"Frankly, there can be no excuse for the state of the HIV/AIDS Administration that I found in 2005," Catania says. "I cannot speak to why it was not a priority previously. For years prior to 2005, mayors and previous individuals allowed things to exist in an unacceptable way--and I do blame this government for part of the epidemic we're confronting."

Some of you may ask, "How is this relevant to us?" Apropos of what, M@? Well, I’m just saying: Sleeping with any random resident of the District is akin to sleeping with any “random” in Uganda and some parts of Kenya. Just saying. Three percent of y’all have HIV. And, actually, you don’t know who you are.

20 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. This shit is so depressing.

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  3. Its the indigenous population with the disease. It is the multiple generations of impoverished black folks; not the hipster doofi.

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  4. Yeah, the Post didn't make any mention of the demographic breakdowns but I assume that's in the CDC report coming out Monday. Still, I'm concerned about the problem... and it sucks that the money was mismanaged, as the h/c chairman says. Peace.

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  5. Contributor's Note: Someone has been impersonating me online, leaving racist comments on other blogs. It's probably the same person that has been making death threats against me for several months. I have taken the proper steps to address this issue and ask that you please disregard any comments that seem out of character for me.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ill keep this in mind if I ever get to the city, and maybe double up for extra protection.

    Those posters are creepy. As it is, spiders give me the heeby-jeebies. So do scorpions. Alligators I am OK with.

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  7. Lazy,

    I wish I was that first spider, however. Lucky bastard.

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  8. All of this sounds so weird to me, who am old enough to remember the first days of AIDS but young enough to have never known sex without the threat of it.

    To me it is one of the perks of stable relationships to be able to have sex without condoms. Maybe almost a motivation? I wonder if my sex life would have been different without this thought.

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  9. Life--Yes, it's so nice when you can completely forget about condoms and just do it whenever. One of the perks, yes.

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  10. Comments out of character for you? Like these comments that you made yourself?:

    March 05, 2009
    Anonymous said...
    M@ said...
    Oh, there's a bitch from Howard University who needs to get fucked.... I'll do that.


    March 05, 2009
    Anonymous said...
    M@ said...
    What's the grad. rate there? 30%?

    March 05, 2009
    Anonymous said...
    M@ said...
    Goodbye, nigger.

    March 05, 2009
    Anonymous said...
    M@ said...
    Bub bye! Have fun being black.

    March 05, 2009
    Anonymous said...
    M@ said...
    I got a big white cock for ya, babe. :)

    9:42 PM

    March 05, 2009
    Anonymous said...
    M@ said...
    Re: Howard University. Duh on the DSL. I used that to bait you. You told me you work at Howard.

    Got a boyfriend there? LOL

    9:44 PM

    March 05, 2009
    Anonymous said...
    M@ said...
    Yeah, I think we should just have sex. I like black chicks.

    9:49 PM

    M@ said...
    what are you? a receptionist? I know damn well you're not a doctor there. LOL.

    9:50 PM

    March 05, 2009
    Anonymous said...
    M@ said...
    u know u want it.

    9:53 PM

    March 05, 2009
    Anonymous said...
    M@ said...
    I can handle you.... and unlike black guys, i go down... ;)

    9:52 PM

    March 05, 2009
    Anonymous said...
    M@ said...
    You WISH, girlfriend. Hey, do you have gmail? This would be much easier if I could just call you or chat.

    Are you OK? You seem obsessed with me. IT's unhealthy. I worry about you....

    9:56 PM

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  11. "More than 4 percent of blacks in the city are known to have HIV, along with almost 2 percent of Latinos and 1.4 percent of whites. More than three-quarters -- 76 percent -- of the HIV infected are black, 70 percent are men and 70 percent are age 40 and older."

    1.4% of whites...hmmm...lots of HIV in Georgetown...

    I wonder how many big names have it?

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  12. "Almost 1 in 10 residents between the ages of 40 and 49 has the virus."

    and I thought my genital warts was bad...

    ReplyDelete
  13. I actually have nothing to complain about in this post. M@ finally gave a post that wasn't full of bullshit freshman journalism class work.
    I do want to say that posting Anon to my blog is a bitch move. Oh yeah I'm not a FRAT BOY!

    ReplyDelete
  14. That 1.4% of white people with AIDS is not in georgetown.

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  15. I was anonymous but now I am not anonymous like you.March 16, 2009

    Hey Marrio,

    "Mario" is typically spelled with one "r". What's the deal with your name?

    And where in "SW" should I come to "check you out"?

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  16. that's some scary shit.

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  17. What percentage of the WASHINGTON DC CRAIGSLIST W4M EROTIC SERVICES ADS girls have AIDS/HIV?

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  18. In the interest of facts, I think that the DC official who said that the rate is on par with "Uganda and parts of Kenya" shouldn't have spoken so soon - Uganda's AIDS prevalence rate (% of people age 15-49) is estimated to be 5.4% according to UNAIDS. [http://www.unaids.org/en/CountryResponses/Countries/uganda.asp] However, 3% is greater than at least 1/3 of sub-Saharan African countries so it is definitely nothing to sneeze at. In fact, it's something to wear a condom for...

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  19. It frightens me that so many of the "younger" generation seem oblivious to AIDS. 3% is too high anywhere - regardless of country.

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  20. Karmyn R: Unfortunately, this statement made by Anonymous is the reason for the problem:

    "That 1.4% of white people with AIDS is not in georgetown."

    People need to wake up.

    ReplyDelete