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Press Release

Press Release # 052-06
Tuesday, June 27, 2006

CONTACT: (212) 788-5290; (212) 788-3058 (After Hours)
Andrew Tucker (
Joyce Hernández López (


NEW YORK CITY – June 27, 2006 – On National HIV Testing Day, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden urged all New Yorkers to know their HIV status by getting tested either by their doctor, or at a City clinic. Thousands of New Yorkers are living with HIV but do not know they are infected leaving them without the option of treatment and potentially putting others at risk.

"There is no cure for HIV, but knowing your HIV status can save your life," said Dr. Frieden. "Most new infections are spread by people who do not know they are infected. All New Yorkers who have ever been sexually active or used injection drugs should get an HIV test to protect themselves and their partners. Rapid tests are available in all city sexually transmitted disease clinics confidentially and free of charge—you will have a test result in less than 30 minutes."

"Early diagnosis means earlier treatment," Dr. Frieden added. Treatment allows people with HIV to live healthier and longer, but you cannot get treatment if you do not know your HIV status."

Facts about HIV in NYC

New York City remains the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. accounting for 14% of the country's AIDS-related deaths. An estimated 20,000 New Yorkers are living with HIV/AIDS, but do not know they are infected and 1,000 New Yorkers each year first learn they have HIV when they are already sick with AIDS.

  • HIV is the 3rd leading cause of death below age 65 in New York City.
  • More than 80% of new AIDS diagnoses and deaths are among African Americans and Hispanics.
  • Nearly one third of new HIV diagnoses in New York City are among women, at least half of these women were infected by a man who did not know he had HIV.
  • HIV/AIDS is concentrated in the poorest neighborhoods of NYC - the South Bronx, Central Brooklyn, and Harlem - as well as in the Manhattan neighborhoods of Chelsea, Clinton and Greenwich Village.

Protect Yourself and Others from HIV/AIDS

There are several steps New Yorkers can take to protect themselves and others from the spread of HIV:

  • Not having sex and not shooting drugs are the most effective ways to avoid HIV infection.
  • Sexually active people can reduce the risk of getting or spreading HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) by having sex only in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner you're sure is not infected with HIV.
  • If you are having sex outside of such a relationship, you can protect yourself and others:
    • Always using a latex condom whenever you have sex - vaginal, anal, or oral.
    • Never having anal sex without a condom.
    • Limiting the number of people you have sex with. The more partners you have, the higher your risk. Having sex with people you don't know greatly increases your risk.
    • Avoiding alcohol and drugs when you have sex. Being high makes it much harder to remember to use condoms.
  • If you shoot drugs, get help to stop. Until you stop, use a new sterile needle and works every time. Never share your needle or your works. If you have to share, clean the kit with bleach.
  • Having an STD may increase your risk of getting HIV. Get tested right away if you think you have any symptoms, or think you've been exposed to an STD. Remember, many STDs don't have any symptoms, especially in women.
  • If you're pregnant or planning pregnancy, knowing your HIV status can save your baby's life. Without medication, a mother can pass HIV to her baby. But if you have HIV and get medication, you can improve your own health and greatly reduce the chance that your baby will get infected.

DOHMH's 10 STD clinics, located in each of the five boroughs, provide free rapid HIV tests on a walk-in basis regardless of immigration status. For information about getting tested for HIV or other STDs, call 3-1-1, visit or talk to your doctor.