Washington, DC, health officials acknowledge that while a recent report showing that 3 percent of residents are HIV positive is troubling, the data do not suggest that the city’s HIV epidemic is worsening, The Washington Post reports. The report found that DC has concentrations of high-risk groups: men who have sex with men (MSM), drug users and former prisoners. The study also suggests that heterosexual transmission of HIV is mainly among African Americans and Latinos.

According to the article, that same report showed that new AIDS diagnoses and AIDS-related deaths are declining in the city and that the increased HIV rate is largely due to advances in antiretroviral treatment, which have kept HIV-positive people alive longer.

Following the release of the 2008 epidemiology report, Shannon Hader, director of the city’s HIV/AIDS administration, said that DC’s HIV rates were “on par with Uganda and parts of Kenya.”

Rand L. Stoneburner, a former New York City health official who has done extensive work in Africa for the World Health Organization, said that early comparisons to HIV/AIDS prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa created unnecessary alarm.

“If they’re talking about an epidemic that’s out of control, or that things are getting worse, that’s just not in the data,” Stoneburner told the Post.