Washington has more HIV than Nigeria

I’m privileged to be visiting the Nation’s Capital. Washington’s abuzz with pre-election politics, of course. But it’s motoring along in all sorts of other ways, too. Today, the Washington Post reported that the city has somehow just zoned out over half of the AIDS deaths in the city. HIV surveillance has never been particularly good in the US — it’s one area where countries such as Cambodia and Indonesia do better in many ways. D.C. has been making an effort. But as my very first post on this blog pointed out, there’s a very long way to go.

In part because Congress has until just a few months ago stood in the way of clean needles for injectors in the city, the capital of the world’s largest economy has HIV rates similar to those in many African countries. Now officials are estimating that between three and five percent of adults may be infected. That’s up to one person in 20 — more than Burundi, Togo, Nigeria or Haiti. A national disgrace?

This post was published on 16/06/08 in Science.

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