13 April 2009
The US Capital, Washington DC, is fighting an epidemic of HIV / Aids that's affecting 3% of the city's population. The rate of infection is the highest in the US and higher than a number of African nations.
Jonathan Beale in Washington
Click to hear the report:
Washington's HIV / Aids problem is getting worse, not better. There's been a 20% increase in cases in the past two years. The city's department of health says that 3% of its residents over the age of twelve are now living with HIV / Aids. That's a rate that officials say is on a par with Uganda and parts of Kenya. The United Nations’ definition of an epidemic is when it affects more than 1% of the population.
In Washington the majority of those infected are African American. Men aged between 40 and 50 have been the hardest hit.
The city is discussing ways of tackling the problem with an emphasis on more testing. But Washington's Mayor Adrian Fenty says that so far the message appears to be going in one ear and out the other.
Three ways of transmission appear to be fuelling the spread of the virus: men having sex with men, heterosexual sex and infection through drug use.
Jonathan Beale, BBC News, Washington
Click to hear the words:
- a 20% increase in cases
- here, 20% more people affected by and diagnosed with HIV / Aids
- the speed at which something happens, or the number of times that something happens
- on a par with
- comparable with, similar to
- an epidemic
- when a particular disease affects a large number of people at the same time
- the hardest hit
- the most affected (in a negative way)
- dealing with, solving
- with an emphasis on
- specifically encouraging / calling for
- appears to be going in one ear and out the other
- does not seem to be taken seriously enough to have an effect; seems to be ignored
- fuelling the spread of the virus
- causing the epidemic to grow