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With new statistics showing alarming levels of HIV infection among the estimated 36,500 District men who have gay sex, the city is recommending that they be tested for the virus twice yearly.
A new report [PDF] indicates that 14 percent of men who have sex with men (aka MSMs) test positive for HIV—-“a rate five times higher than that of the entire city’s adults and adolescents.”
Thus: “Based on these high rates, the Department of Health has updated its guidelines for DC men who have sex with men, recommending they get tested twice a year for HIV,” according to a city release. The city has previously recommended that all citizens get tested yearly.
More scary stats: “More than 40% were unaware if they were HIV positive prior to the study….Nearly 75% of men testing positive were older and more men of color were positive….More than one-third did not know their last partner’s HIV status….Over 40% did not use condoms.”
Also: “Contrary to some perceptions, younger men generally had safer sex behaviors; while older men got tested less and used condoms less and had more sex partners,” says the report.
The good(ish) news is that surveys of MSMs in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco showed infection rates of 25 percent or greater. And D.C.’s ahead of all those jurisdictions in testing rates. So there’s that.