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Study 14 Percent of D.C. Gay Men HIV Positive


A study released Thursday by the D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration found that at least 14% of gay men in the nation's capital are HIV-positive, nearly five times the overall rate for adults and teens in the city. Some critics say the study is flawed, and the percentage would be higher if a more representative sample of D.C. gay men were studied.

According to The Washington Post, "Interviews with 500 gay men throughout the District found that more than 40 percent were unaware of their diagnosis before the study, even though most had seen a doctor in the past 12 months, and more than a third did not know the HIV status of their last sex partner.

"The study also shattered some stereotypes: Younger men generally had safer sex behaviors; men older than 30 were tested less frequently, used condoms less often and had more sex partners."

The survey was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which examined 21 districts and found HIV rates in D.C. to be comparatively low, according to the Post.

"Even though the numbers for the District, collected in 2008, are high, city officials said the rates in other jurisdictions recorded in 2005 were higher, including San Francisco (24 percent), New York (25 percent) and Baltimore (40 percent)," the Post reported.

Critics say the study would have found higher rates of HIV if more black men were included in the study. Roughly half of the survey respondents were men of color, whereas 60% of HIV-positive gay men in D.C. are black.

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