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Majority of New York City Adults at Increased Risk of HIV Transmission Think They Are Not at Risk, Survey Says

January 14, 2008

About 18% of New York City adults are at risk of contracting HIV because of drug use or multiple sex partners, according to a recent survey conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the AP/New York Times reports. However, the survey found that about 92% of the city's at-risk population believe they are not at risk (AP/New York Times, 1/11).

The survey -- based on the city's 2004 Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which used blood tests and computer-based interviews to determine behavior and HIV incidence -- found the city's HIV risk is because of people having multiple sex partners and using injection drugs. The survey found that among the group with multiple sex partners, 60% did not use condoms all the time. The findings also suggested that about 1.4% of New York City adults are HIV-positive -- nearly four times the national rate. In addition, the survey found that about 14% of men who have sex with men in the city are HIV-positive -- about 38 times the citywide average. The survey also found that about 3.3% and 1.3% of black and Hispanics, respectively, are living with HIV, compared with 0.6% of whites.

Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said, "Far too many people are in danger of contracting HIV through risky behavior." He added, "Reducing the number of sex partners you have and protecting yourself and your partners by consistently using condoms will help you stay safe. We should all know our HIV status ... and health care providers should offer this test to their patients" (DHMH release, 1/10).

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