|New York City Department of Health |
Office of Public Affairs
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
CONTACT: Sandra Mullin/Andrew Tucker
Thursday, June 27, 2002
(212) 788-5290 | (877) 640-1347
THOUSANDS OF NEW YORKERS LIVING WITH HIVOn National HIV Testing Day, NYC Health Commissioner Urges New Yorkers to Get Tested for HIV
BUT DON'T KNOW IT
On National HIV Testing Day (Thursday, June 27), New York City Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, advised New Yorkers to determine their level of risk for HIV infection and to take an HIV test.
Dr. Frieden said, "Estimates indicate that at least 15,000 to 30,000 New Yorkers are living with HIV and do not know that they are infected. These persons endanger others if they engage in high-risk behavior such as unsafe sex and the sharing of injection drug needles. All at-risk individuals, especially men who have sex with men as well as injection drug users should make the time to get an HIV test."
Dr. Frieden also noted that while drug therapies can prolong the lives of HIV-positive individuals, the medical advancements in the treatment of HIV should never be viewed as a substitute for safer sex practices such as condom use, which prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The HIV epidemic – both nationally and in New York City – heavily affects African-Americans and Latinos. Recent studies also reveal that HIV is disproportionately affecting young gay men of color. Members of these communities, as well as other groups considered at risk for HIV infection – such as injection drug users and anyone who has engaged in unprotected sexual activity with multiple partners – should get tested.
The New York City Department of Health (DOH) provides free, anonymous, and confidential testing, as well as counseling services for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases at 14 clinic sites citywide, as well as at Mobile H.E.L.P (Health Education Life Program) vans. Information on clinic and van locations can be obtained through DOH's toll free AIDS Hotline, 1-800-TALK-HIV (1-800-825-5448) or through the DOH Web site at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/std/stdfree.html
Earlier this month, DOH launched "BYOC (Bring Your Own Condom)," a citywide HIV prevention campaign featured on New York City's mass transit system.