Translate This Page Print This Page Email a Friend Newsletter Sign-Up
Text Size : Sm Med Lg
Press Releases

New York City Seal Press Release

New York City Department of Health
and Mental Hygiene

Office of Communications
CONTACT: Sandra Mullin/Greg Butler
Monday, December 2, 2002
(212) 788-5290
(877) 640-1347


Though People with AIDS are Living Longer, HIV/AIDS Is Fourth Leading Cause of Death in NYC

To mark the 15th annual World AIDS Day, New York City Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., MPH today recognized six community-based organizations for their outstanding work in HIV/AIDS prevention and support services. Dr. Frieden also released new data concerning HIV deaths, newly diagnosed AIDS cases, and estimated persons living with AIDS in New York City.

"This year's World AIDS Day theme - 'Live and Let Live' - underscores the importance of eliminating stigma and discrimination against those with HIV and AIDS," Dr. Frieden said. "With an estimated 15,000 to 30,000 New Yorkers not knowing that they are HIV positive, it is clear that stigma continues to hamper prevention efforts. In order to protect their own health as well as the health of those they love and their community, every sexually active New Yorker should know their HIV status."

Dr. Frieden also released 2001 AIDS figures for New York City. The data show that advances in antiretroviral medications have increased survival time and decreased mortality rates of those with HIV/AIDS. However:

  • HIV is the leading cause of death of New Yorkers between 25 and 44 years of age.
  • HIV is the fourth leading cause of death in New York City.
  • More than 80,000 New Yorkers have died of AIDS.
  • There are more than 100,000 New Yorkers living with HIV or AIDS, and an additional 15,000 - 30,000 New Yorkers who are unaware of their HIV-positive status.

HIV Deaths, Newly Diagnosed AIDS Cases, and Estimated Number of Persons Living with AIDS in New York City, 1997-2001

HIV Deaths2,6251,9782,0201,9611,774
Newly Diagnosed AIDS Cases7,3165,5075,1115,6424,677
Estimated Number of New Yorkers
Living with AIDS at Year's End

* - Between 1998 and 1999 there was a slight increase of 2.1% in HIV Deaths in New York City. This may be attributable to 1999 changes to the International Classification of Diseases established by the World Health Organization.
± - Reporting of cases diagnosed in 2000 and 2001 is incomplete because of a lag in reporting. The increase in AIDS cases from 1999 to 2000 may be a result of expanded laboratory surveillance following the implementation of the New York State HIV Reporting and Partner Notification Act in June of 2000.

"Communities of color continue to suffer the disproportionate burden of the AIDS epidemic. African Americans and Hispanics accounted for 82% of newly diagnosed AIDS cases in 2001. Moreover, compared to whites, African Americans and Hispanics are six and three times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV, respectively. These data reinforce the need to target prevention services to these communities," Dr. Frieden added.

In June of 2000, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) implemented the New York State HIV Reporting/Partner Notification Law that was passed in 1998. The law requires doctors and laboratories to report new cases of HIV infection, in addition to newly diagnosed AIDS cases. The first twelve months of the new reporting system identified more than 9,000 newly diagnosed HIV cases. Approximately 24% (2,220) of these individuals were unaware that they were infected with HIV until they developed symptoms of AIDS.

DOHMH provides confidential HIV/AIDS testing and counseling services at sites throughout New York City. As sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) increase the transmission of HIV, the Health Department also provides free treatment at STD clinics citywide. DOHMH's AIDS information and referral line, 1-800-TALK-HIV (1 800-825-5448), provides information on HIV/AIDS testing, counseling, treatment, and referral services.

On December 1, World AIDS Day, DOHMH placed public service announcements (funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in daily newspapers that feature the Department's HIV information and referral line, 1-800-TALK-HIV (1 800-825-5448). Additionally, earlier this year, DOHMH launched the HIV prevention campaign "BYOC (Bring Your Own Condom)" targeted at demographic groups with the highest rates of HIV transmission - Black and Latino gay and bisexual men and Black and Latino young women between the ages of 16 and 30. In the past year, DOHMH has distributed over 3 million condoms to community-based organizations citywide.

From the beginning of the epidemic through December of 2001, more than 816,000 cumulative AIDS cases nationwide have been reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the corresponding period, more than 130,000 people in New York City have been diagnosed with AIDS and more than 80,000 have died. With approximately 3% of the country's population, New York City has reported approximately 16% of the nation's AIDS cases.

The six community-based organizations recognized for their outstanding provision of HIV prevention, testing, case management, and counseling services to at-risk populations included:

For more information, call 1-800-TALK-HIV or visit