Printer Friendly Format Email a Friend

PR- 249-05
June 27, 2005


Rapid HIV Testing Available in All City STD Clinics; Monday, June 27th is National HIV Testing Day

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden encouraged New Yorkers to get tested for HIV on National HIV Testing Day.  New York City has an aggressive program of HIV prevention and offers voluntary rapid HIV testing and HIV prevention and education throughout the City.   Rapid HIV testing has been shown to increase the likelihood that people get tested and get their results.  Results of rapid HIV tests are available within one hour, compared to the several days needed to receive results from traditional HIV tests.  Rapid HIV testing is now available in all Health Department STD clinics.

"HIV has had an untold impact on New York City, not only the tens of thousands of New Yorkers living with HIV, but their families, friends, and caretakers," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "We owe it to them to use the best tools available to stop this epidemic and the first step is getting tested.  The City will redouble its efforts to get the word out about the importance of getting tested, because it will help prevent the spread of this disease and save lives."

"We estimate that approximately 20,000 New Yorkers living with HIV doesn't know that he or she is infected," said Commissioner Frieden. "HIV test results are completely confidential. If you are HIV-positive, knowing your status will help you to get treatment early, and will also help you protect your partners and others.  And remember, everyone should take precautions to prevent the spread of HIV.  If you're sexually active, use a latex condom every time you have sex."

In 2004, the City implemented rapid HIV testing in all ten New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) STD clinics, as well as in tuberculosis clinics, and on Rikers Island.  During January to May 2005, there were 18,772 HIV tests performed in DOHMH STD clinics, a 24% increase from the same time period in 2004.  Tests conducted on Rikers Island doubled between from 5,000 in 2003 to 2004 when 10,000 tests were conducted. This number is expected to double again in 2005. DOHMH plans to expand rapid HIV testing to additional medical settings, including hospitals, emergency departments, and community health centers in Central Brooklyn, the Bronx and Harlem.

Data: HIV/AIDS in New York City
There are approximately 92,000 New Yorkers diagnosed and known to be living with HIV/AIDS.  However, the actual number of persons living with HIV/AIDS is much higher, with an estimated 25% of persons with HIV having never been tested and unaware that they are infected.

In 2003, the most recent year for which data are complete:

  • More than 4,200 New Yorkers were diagnosed with HIV; 25% of them first learned they were HIV-positive at the time they received an AIDS diagnosis, up to a decade after they were infected.
  • Approximately 80% of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses were among blacks and Hispanics, who comprise only half of the population.
  • Nearly one in three new HIV/AIDS diagnoses were among women.
  • 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.
  • HIV is the seventh leading cause of death among New Yorkers overall, and the leading cause of death among those age 35-44 years.

Additional data on HIV/AIDS in New York City is available in DOHMH's most recent HIV Epidemiology Report.

How to Protect Yourself and Others:
There are several steps New Yorkers should take to protect themselves and others from the spread of HIV:

  • Not having sex and not shooting drugs are the only ways to be 100% certain you won't get infected with HIV.
  • If you are sexually active, you can reduce your risk of getting or spreading HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) by having sex only in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner you're sure is not infected.
  • If you are having sex outside of such a relationship, you can protect yourself and others by:
    • Always using a latex condom whenever you have sex - vaginal, anal, or oral.
    • Never having anal sex without a condom. Unprotected anal sex is the greatest sexual risk for spreading HIV.
    • 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, 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.


Edward Skyler/Jordan Barowitz   (212) 788-2958

Sandra Mullin/Monica Duwell   (Health & Mental Hygiene)
(212) 788-5290

More Resources