The District of Columbia had the grim distinction of having the highest AIDS rate among U.S. states and territories in 1995. Puerto Rico was a distant second, followed by New York, New Jersey and Maryland.
The nation's capital had 185.7 AIDS cases per 100,000 residents, down from 246.9 in 1994, when it also led the nation. North Dakota had the lowest AIDS rate, at 0.8.
The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the figures this month. Nationwide, the AIDS rate is declining, but more minorities and women are among its victims.
Researchers had predicted this trend, anticipating that prevention methods and death would slow the rates among gay white men but that the virus would spread among women and minorities.
Nationwide, the CDC reported 74,180 AIDS cases, or 27.8 per 100,000 residents, in 1995. That's down from 1994, when there were 79,897 cases and a rate of 30.2.
Also in 1995, women accounted for 19% of all AIDS cases among adults and adolescents, their highest proportion yet.
The same states and territories were in the top five for 1994 and 1995, but only Puerto Rico reported an increased AIDS rate from one year to the next. Its 1995 rate of 70.3 compared with 62.5 in 1994, bumping it from No. 5 in 1994 to No. 2 in 1995.
The AIDS rate among blacks was 92.6 cases per 100,000. Blacks were six times more likely to have AIDS than whites, whose rate was 15.4, and twice as likely to have AIDS as Hispanics, whose rate was 46.2. Asians and Pacific Islanders reported the lowest rate: 6.2.
Among cities, Jersey City, N.J., topped the 1995 list with 138.1 AIDS cases per 100,000 residents, followed by San Francisco at 129.7, New York City at 122.5, Miami at 117.2 and Newark, N.J., at 86.8. Newark's entry into the top five bumped Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The city with the lowest rate was Dayton, Ohio, with 5.
Among states, New York's 1995 rate of 68.4 was down from 81.1 in 1994, New Jersey's 55.5 rate was down from 61.7 in 1994, and Maryland's 51.5 rate was down from 83.7 in 1994.
The cumulative number of AIDS cases reported since 1981 passed the half-million mark in 1995, with 513,486 cases reported by Dec. 31. Sixty-two percent of those patients have died.