New York: No Specific Plans Regarding More Gay HIV Infections
July 6, 2006
While city health officials propose substituting verbal for written consent for HIV tests and making HIV testing more routine, New York politicians have offered no particular strategy to address an apparent increase in new HIV infections among gay men documented in a recent city report.
Between 2001 and the first half of 2005, HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) rose from 26 percent to 39 percent of total diagnoses, according to a May 31 report by the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH). From 2000 to 2001, new HIV diagnoses climbed among MSM under age 30 while declining among older MSM.
"Among young, black MSM under 30 there is an increase," said Dr. Lucia V. Torian, director of DHMH's HIV epidemiology department. "There is an increase among young, Hispanic MSM and among young, white MSM."
"What is incumbent on all of us is to make sure that everybody gets tested right away," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said before joining the city's gay Pride March on June 25. "That's why [Health Commissioner] Tom Frieden and I have pushed as hard as we can" for state legislation to remove barriers to HIV testing, Bloomberg said. "Sadly, Albany did not come through with a bill that would have made it a lot easier to test."
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the new numbers are "troubling because it's clear that the message is not getting out to younger people in this city, the message about how severe HIV and AIDS can be if you contract it, the message that you can protect yourself and prevent that from happening."
Quinn said the council has "always made HIV/AIDS a priority, but that as "we haven't finished the budget, I can't comment specifically on what level we will do." The next fiscal year begins July 1.
Gay City News (New York)
06.29.06; Duncan Osborne
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.