DC will not meet goal to cut 2020 HIV diagnoses by half

The District of Columbia will not meet Mayor Muriel E. Bowser's goal of cutting the annual number of new HIV diagnoses in half by 2020, health officials announced Aug. 29, according to The Washington Post.

The announcement came after a public health report showed the infection is not slowing at the rate the mayor had hoped. The city had 360 HIV diagnoses in 2018, just 13 fewer than the number for 2017. While this marks significant progress compared to the mid-2000s, when over 1,000 people were diagnosed annually, it is not enough to meet the mayor's goal. HIV affects almost 2 percent of the D.C. population, the 16th highest rate in the country.

The District has been attempting to reach its target with two major initiatives. First, officials have been trying to treat more people who already have HIV to lower their viral load so they cannot infect sexual partners. Second, the city has been trying to increase use of the daily PrEP pill, which cuts the risk of infection by over 90 percent. 

The initiatives have seen some success. Two-thirds of people with HIV are now virally suppressed, and 3,400 people began taking the PrEP pill in 2018.

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