For several years, reported HIV infections in the United States have fallen, with Maryland seeing one of the biggest drops. The new estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show HIV cases in Maryland dropped an average of 7.5 percent per year, twice the national decline of 3.6 percent from 2008 and 2014.
The progress has been attributed to a push to get high-risk people tests and treated, education and medications that block infection, along with Baltimore needle exchange programs. Georgia, Illinois and District of Columbia saw bigger drops in new HIV cases than Maryland.
Baltimore Exchange Programs Location And Hours Of Operation:
|Hours of Operation||Location|
|Monday 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM||Monroe & Ramsey; Greenmount & Preston|
|Monday 12:45 PM – 3:30 PM||Fulton & Baker|
|Monday 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM||Baltimore & Conkling (Highlandtown)|
|Monday 8:30 PM – 10:00 PM||Milton & Monument|
|Tuesday 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM||Montford & Biddle; Pratt & Carey|
|Tuesday 12:45 PM – 3:30 PM||Freemont & Riggs; Barclay & 23rd|
|Wednesday 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM||Baltimore & Conkling (Highlandtown)|
|Wednesday 8:30 PM – 10:00 PM||Freemont & Laurens|
|Thursday 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM||Pontiac & 9th Ave.; North & Rosedale|
|Thursday 12:45 PM – 3:30 PM||Milton & Monument; Monroe & Ramsey|
|Thursday 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM||Baltimore & Gay (The Block)|
|Friday 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM||Park Heights & Spaulding; North & Gay|
|Friday 12:45 PM – 3:30 PM||Fulton & Baker|
|Friday 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM||Montford & Biddle|
|Friday 8:30 PM – 10:00 PM||Monroe & Ramsey|
|Saturday 12:00PM – 4:00PM||Fremont & Riggs|
“The impact of syringe exchanges has been enormous,” said Jeffrey Hitt, director of the Infectious Disease Prevention and Health Services Bureau in the state health department. “About a decade ago that was primary mode of transmission in Baltimore and Maryland, people injecting drugs and sharing equipment.”
The public health community sees the declines as promising, but there appears to be uneven progress among specific groups of people. Unfortunately, there were 28 other states, where the CDC made estimates that showed no changes.
People who injected drugs showed the biggest decrease nationally, with a 56 percent drop, followed by heterosexuals with a 36 percent drop.
New HIV cases among groups of gay men dropped, including those less than 24 years of age or Caucasian. The number of new cases increased for gay men between the age of 24 and 34.
According to the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen, bisexual, transgender and gay people, particularly African-Americans have been the most vexing crowd for Baltimore health officials.
Health officials continue to deliver the message that HIV is no longer considered a “death sentence”, but a chronic condition that is manageable with a daily pill in most cases. People with suppressed viral loads are less likely to spread to the disease to others.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis is also being prescribed to uninfected people to reduce the risks of sexual transmission. Public health officials are encouraging high-risk individuals to ask for the medication and physicians to prescribe it more often.
There is a new threat raging in rural counties that may potentially affect the ability to continue controlling HIV cases. This threat is the heroin epidemic, which may cause a potential outbreak of new HIV cases.