(Washington Post) — Although the number of District residents living with HIV or AIDS remains high enough to rate as an epidemic, the tally of new cases has dropped by nearly 50 percent over two years, according to a report released Wednesday. The annual report by the D.C. Department of Health also noted a 60 percent drop in the number of newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases from injection drug use, from 153 cases in 2007 to 62 in 2009, the most recent data available. Health officials cited expanded needle-exchange programs as the probable reason. More than 3 percent of District residents older than 12 were living with HIV or AIDS in 2009, the year covered by the 108-page report. The epidemic continues to disproportionately affect blacks, adults ages 30 to 59 and those living in Wards 5, 6, 7 and 8.