At least 3 percent of Washington, DC, residents are living with HIV/AIDS, according to a 2008 epidemiology report by the district’s HIV/AIDS office and written about in The Washington Post. The study, released March 16, notes that even a 1 percent prevalence constitutes a “generalized and severe” HIV epidemic.

“Our rates are higher than West Africa,” said Shannon Hader, director of the District’s HIV/AIDS administration who once led the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s work in Zimbabwe. “They’re on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya.” The report notes that sex between men remains the most common mode of transmission in the district but that HIV is also on the rise among injection drug users and heterosexuals.

In addition to the epidemiology report, the city has also released a CDC-funded study on heterosexual behavior. According to that report, nearly half of residents who had connections to parts of the city with the highest AIDS prevalence and poverty rates reported being with more than one sexual partner during the same time period within the past year; three in five said they knew their own HIV status; and only three in 10 reported using a condom the last time they had sex.