According to a recent report by D.C. health officials, the number of HIV/AIDS cases jumped 22% in 2008 from the nearly 12,500 cases reported in 2006. In fact, at least 3% of residents in our nation's capital are living with HIV/AIDS.

Furthermore, almost 1 in 10 residents between ages 40 and 49 are living with HIV. Black men had the highest infection rate of 7%. Looking at African-Americans overall in our nation's capitals, Blacks make up 53% of the population, but account for 76% of all the infections.

What is even more distubing is that each mode of transmission is on the rise, making it more difficult to target those at highest risk. The virus is most often transmitted by men having sex with men (MSM) (37%), followed by heterosexual transmission (28%) and injection drug use (18%).

In an effort to combat the growing epidemic in Washington, D.C., officials say the city is ramping up its efforts.

The city said it raised the number of people in its AIDS drug assistance program by 50 percent from 2007 to 2008, while the number of young people getting HIV tests doubled in the same period. The city said it is one of two in the nation with a major condom distribution program, distributing 1.5 million in 2008."We want to make condoms widely available for free at a lot of easy-access points around the city," Dr. Shannon Hader, the city's HIV/AIDS Administration director, said, including beauty parlors, barber shops, liquor stores and bars.