February 7, 2012
The Health Department today announced that new HIV data shows a 41% drop in deaths among black persons living with HIV/AIDS between 2001 and 2010. Despite this progress, black New Yorkers -- representing 25% of the New York City population -- disproportionately accounted for almost half of all new HIV diagnoses (48%) in 2010, a proportion that has remained almost unchanged for the past 5 years. Blacks were, however, more likely than all other racial/ethnic groups in the City to have had an HIV test in the past 12 months. To commemorate the 12th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day today, the Health Department reminds all New Yorkers who do not know their HIV status to get tested for HIV, take the necessary precautions to stay negative and protect their partners, and get into treatment if you are positive.
"After more than 30 years of battling HIV, it's still a disease that disproportionately impacts our vulnerable community members," said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. "With our new treatment recommendations released in December, I am more optimistic than ever that we can continue to drive down rates of infection and we may see the end of this epidemic in my lifetime. To that end, we cannot let up on our prevention efforts. Everyone should get tested, and if you're positive, get into treatment and stay in treatment."
"Although it's important to know your HIV status, getting tested does not equal prevention so everyone who is having sex or injecting drugs should take the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and hepatitis transmission," said Dr. Monica Sweeney, assistant commissioner for the Health Department's Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control. "I look forward to the day when events like National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day are no longer necessary. Until then, we need to make every day HIV awareness day. I encourage every New Yorker that does not know his or her status to visit our NYC Knows Facebook page or call 311 to find the nearest location where testing is available."
New York City is home to the largest number of persons living with HIV/AIDS in the United States: 110,000 New Yorkers known to be living with HIV/AIDS. There are also an estimated 21% additional HIV positive New Yorkers who are not aware of their status and could be unknowingly transmitting the virus to others. Black New Yorkers comprise the greatest proportion of City residents living with HIV/AIDS (45%).
HIV remains more prevalent in blacks as evidenced by the following statistics on HIV rates for black women, men, and teens:
Currently, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is directed, planned and organized by a group known as the National Planning Council who partners with local, regional and national organizations to mobilize communities and address specific issues related to local epidemics.
For information on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, visit blackaidsday.org/. For a list of local events celebrating HIV/AIDS Awareness Day today and this week, visit the Health Department's events calendar.
Any New York City resident can get a free HIV test at one of the Health Department's Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) or Tuberculosis (TB) clinics, regardless of immigration or insurance status. New York State law now requires nearly all medical facilities to offer a voluntary HIV test to anyone ages 13-64 receiving emergency, inpatient or outpatient primary care health services, with limited exceptions. If you are not offered an HIV test the next time you visit a primary health care provider, ask for the test. For more information about HIV testing in NYC visit the NYC Knows Facebook page facebook.com/NYCKnows or call 311.
If you have ever had sex or have ever used injection drugs (even once) don't assume that HIV is someone else's problem. Everyone needs to be tested. In addition to getting tested, using a condom every time you have sex protects you and your partners from getting HIV and other STDs, such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, and hepatitis B, and reduces the risk of unintended pregnancies.
The Health Department offers free latex condoms at thousands of venues around New York City. Call 311 or go to NYC.gov (search: condoms) for more information. To download the free NYC Condom Finder application, New Yorkers with smart phones can search for NYC Condom' in the Android Market or the iPhone App Store on their mobile devices or log on to facebook.com/NYCCondom for more information. The City also provides free lubricant, female (FC2) condoms, and male condoms in different sizes.