September 26, 2011-As part of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Health Department urges all gay men and other at-risk New Yorkers to use condoms and to get tested for HIV. Between 2002 and 2009, new diagnoses of HIV declined by 28 percent in New York City. However, the gay community and other men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to be the most severely impacted. Founded in 2008 by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), this day aims to raise awareness among gay men and other MSM to prevent new infections and lead healthier lives.
“This day is an important call to action for all New Yorkers and I encourage everyone to do their part - if you have ever had sex or injected drugs, make sure you know your HIV status,” said Commissioner of Health Thomas Farley. “The only way to know is to get tested.”
In 2009, gay men and other MSM accounted for 43% of newly diagnosed HIV infections in New York City - more than any other group - and more than half of all diagnoses (57%) among men. A recent study of MSM in NYC showed that 53% of MSM who were found to be HIV positive through the study were not aware of their status. Additionally, in 2009 only 53% of MSM reported using a condom every time they had anal sex. Using a condom every time you have anal or vaginal sex reduces the risk for you and your partner(s) of getting HIV and other STDs, such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes and hepatitis B.
The majority of new HIV transmissions can be attributed to persons who do not know that they are infected. Any New Yorker can get a free HIV test at one of the Health Department’s nine STD clinics. Additionally, many community partner organizations will offer free, rapid HIV testing throughout the city as part of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
“If you’re negative, you can take the steps necessary to stay negative, by reducing your number of partners and using a condom every time," said Dr. Monica Sweeney, Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control. “If you’re positive, make sure you seek regular health care and stay in care, as well as using a condom to prevent spreading the infection to others.”
To find an HIV testing location near you, call 311 or visit www.facebook.com/NYCKnows
The Health Department is also hosting a community forum to discuss new biomedical interventions and their impact on HIV prevention in the City’s gay community on Tuesday, September 27th at 5:30pm at GMHC, located at 446 West 33rd Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues), 6th floor cafeteria. Please visit http://hivpreventionforum.eventbrite.com to register—space is limited. For a list of other events taking place in all five boroughs, please see below. Please call 311, for a full listing of all testing sites that provide confidential testing.
The Health Department offers free latex condoms at thousands of venues around New York City. For information on where to find condoms, call 311, go to nyc.gov (keyword condoms), or download the NYC Condom Finder app on your Apple or Android smartphone. The City also provides free lubricant, female condoms, and alternative male condoms (different types/sizes).
City Events on National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Free, rapid HIV testing and other awareness events will take place at the following locations on September 27th:
- Brooklyn: Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center, 1413 Fulton Street, 11:00-4:00pm
- Queens: AIDS Center Queens County, Club Evolution, 76-19 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights, 10:00pm-3:00am, and ACQC, 89-74 162nd Street, 7th floor, Jamaica, 10:00am-5:00pm
- Manhattan: GHMC, 446 West 33rd Street, 6th floor cafeteria, Forum on HIV prevention and biomedical interventions, 6:00pm-8:30pm. HIV testing from 4:00pm-5:00pm in mobile van at 33rd Street location and 9:30am-3:30pm at 224 W. 29th street, ground floor
- Staten Island: LGBT Center, 25 Victory Boulevard, 3rd floor, 1:00pm-8:00pm
Free, rapid HIV testing and other awareness events will take place at the following location on October 6th:
- Bronx: Bronx Community College, Colston Hall Lobby, 2155 University Avenue, 11:00-3:00pm