HIV & AIDS Article essay

The article under analysis is examining HIV/AIDS problems within Washington DC. It is called “HIV/AIDS Rate in D.C. Hits 3%. Considered a ”˜Severe’ Epidemic, Every Mode of Transmission Is Increasing, City Study Finds”; it was published in the Washington Post on the 15th of March 2009.

The Authors: The article was written by two staff writers of the Washington Post Jose Antonio Vargas and Darryl Fears. Jose Antonio Vargas is well known journalist all over the world. He is considered to be real authority in the field of investigation HIV and AIDS in Washington DC. He also owned Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting. Darryl Fears is not as famous as his colleague. He is well-known for his reports in the Washington Post and the feed back with the readers. Jose Antonio Vargas is considered to be very interested in investigation of HIV/AIDS question within Washington DC. He became recognizable figure only for his coverage of HIV/AIDS Problem on the Pages of the Washington Post. In 2010 a film devoted to his coverage of this problem will be released, describing the work of Jose Antonio Vargas.

Type of Article: “HIV/AIDS Rate in D.C. Hits 3%. Considered a ”˜Severe’ Epidemic, Every Mode of Transmission Is Increasing, City Study Finds” is newspaper article, published in the Washington Post in 2009


The title of the article and its lead perfectly describe the content of the whole article. The authors try to draw attention of the society to the problem of Spreading HIV/AIDS within Washington DC. The authors give statistical data describing the situation, which turned to be worse than in Africa: “Our rates are higher than West Africa,” said Shannon L. Hader, director of the District’s HIV/AIDS Administration, who once led the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s work in Zimbabwe. “They’re on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya” (Vargas, Fears; 2009). Trying to attract he readers attention the authors insist on the fact that epidemic of HIV/AIDS is not an empty phrase, it is real threat to the humanity. Analyzing the situation within certain area (in our case Washington DC) the authors make a stress on the fact that this problem is acute for the whole world as well.


The article is representing the current situation with HIV/AIDS epidemics, providing recent statistical data. It does not provide any claims about treating this disease, but emphasize that people become HIV positive because of sex with different partners, gay sex. The risk zone is mainly spread within Afro American citizens of the district: “More than 4 percent of blacks in the city are known to have HIV, along with almost 2 percent of Latinos and 1.4 percent of whites. More than three-quarters – 76 percent – of the HIV infected are black, 70 percent are men and 70 percent are age 40 and older. Heterosexual sex was the principal mode of transmission for blacks with the disease, 33 percent.

Men having sex with men was the chief mode of transmission for white residents, 78 percent; and Latinos, 49 percent. Black women represent more than a quarter of HIV cases in the District, and most, about 58 percent, were infected through heterosexual sex. About a quarter of black women were infected through drug use” (Vargas, Fears; 2009). If this statistical data could really influence the target group of this article (as it is understood from statistical data back gays are in within the risk group), then it would b possible to say that the article gives certain claims about prevention the disease. The threatening numbers should make people think about their personal safety and their partners’ safety too.

It will be important to note that this particular article examines the situation with HIV/AIDS within one particular area ”“ Washington DC.

The authors give some comparative and probably significant redirections on the statistical data of Western Africa and San Francisco: “”˜Our rates are higher than West Africa,’ said Shannon L. Hader”¦ ”˜They’re on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya.’” (Vargas, Fears; 2009), “So urgent is the concern that the HIV/AIDS Administration took the relatively rare step of couching the city’s infections in a percentage, harkening to 1992, when San Francisco, around the height of its epidemic, announced that 4 percent of its population was HIV positive. But the report also cautions that ”˜we know that the true number of residents currently infected and living with HIV is certainly higher’” (Vargas, Fears; 2009). It shows that problem is observed on the local level; even some examples from the other areas are given. This effect is used to make a social stress on the problem acute in the present day world: it is acute on the national level (San Francisco experience) and ob the international too (African experience). The author cite HIV positive people showing their awareness of the problem: “”˜You have a high incidence of HIV among African Americans, and a lot of African Americans live in the city,” said Simmons, who is a member of a black gay support group. “D.C. also has a high number of gay men, and HIV is high among gay black men’” (Vargas, Fears [Ron Simons]; 2009). HIV positive people are really well aware of the current situation in Washington DC. In the contract authors cite the director of the National Institutes of Health’s program on infectious diseases, who is really worried about increasing of HIV/AIDS positive rates: “”˜This is very, very depressing news, especially considering HIV’s profound impact on minority communities,’ said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health’s program on infectious diseases. ”˜And remember: The city’s numbers are just based on people who’ve gotten tested’” ((Vargas, Fears [Anthony Fauci]; 2009).  Providing different opinions of officials and the HIV positive people the authors make a stress that situation in Washington DC became worse for the recent time.


If we take into account that one of the authors is considered to be an authority in the HIV/AIDS question we would understand the inner message of the article. The authors are not just trying to depict the situation within the Washington DC and drive social attention. But the make a stress on the fact that government policy could do nothing with the problem without co-operation with society: “Until recently, the District’s AIDS office lacked a fully staffed surveillance unit to collect, analyze and distribute data. Inevitably, the office lost credibility, and although it has received millions in federal and local funds – $95 million this year – some care providers questioned whether resources were being properly allocated” (Vargas, Fears; 2009). This short passage is the key message of the article. Government could not overcome the problem without social support.

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