|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2008
City Public Hospitals Expand HIV Testing By Making It Routine Part of Medical Care
Rapid Testing Identifies Over 1,800 New Cases and Links HIV Positive Patients to Care
New York City - The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) announced today that the city's public hospitals and medical centers tested 160,900 people for HIV in Fiscal Year 2008-exceeding its target of testing 150,000 New Yorkers. The number is a 20% percent increase from the previous year's total.
HHC has steadily expanded the routine offering of rapid HIV tests to patients in emergency rooms, inpatient units, and clinics, with results usually available within 30 minutes. Over the past four years, the city hospital system has tested nearly 450,000 people.
“Testing is a critical first part of a comprehensive strategy to prevent and treat HIV,” said HHC President Alan D. Aviles. "By making voluntary testing readily available as a routine part of medical care, we can help remove some of the barriers and stigma that keep people from learning their HIV status and taking care of themselves. Although there is no cure for HIV infection, early detection has been demonstrated to provide better treatment options and improve patients' health outcomes."
This year, the tests identified 1,863 people with HIV-a prevalence rate of 1.16%. Of those who tested positive, over 60% were scheduled for and kept their first HIV primary care appointment within the month of their diagnosis, with most being connected to care within 48 hours. The data was compiled from facilities throughout the public hospital system for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2008.
The expansion of HHC's rapid HIV testing program has been supported by more than $14.1 million allocated by the New York City Council since FY06. In FY08 alone, the Council allocated $4.7 million to HHC facilities to expand rapid HIV testing.
“We are grateful to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other members of the City Council for their investment in early detection and preventative care,” said President Aviles.
An estimated 20,000 New Yorkers-one in five people living with HIV-do not know they are infected. New York City remains the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States, with the highest number of AIDS diagnoses in country. Among people under 65, HIV is the third leading cause of death in the city.
HHC currently serves 19,000 HIV/AIDS patients-20% of the nearly 100,000 people known to be living with HIV/AIDS in New York City.
HHC's 11 acute care hospitals are Designated AIDS Centers. All HHC hospitals, diagnostic and treatment centers, and some other clinics offer specialized HIV care to all New Yorkers, regardless of ability to pay or immigration status. New Yorkers who get their health care at HHC hospitals and health centers can obtain confidential, convenient HIV testing.
To find a public hospital or health center providing HIV testing and treatment in New York City, visit nyc.gov/hhc or call 311.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest municipal hospital and health care system in the country, is a $5.4 billion public benefit corporation that serves 1.3 million New Yorkers every year, and nearly 400,000 who are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 80 community based health centers.