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State health commissioner urges all New Yorkers to get an HIV test

ALBANY - In recognition of National HIV Testing Day on Thursday, June 27, State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., today urged all New Yorkers to get tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. An estimated 30,000 New Yorkers carrying the HIV virus are unaware they have it.

"Recent advances have greatly enhanced the treatments available to people who have HIV infections," Commissioner Shah said. "That is why it is important for people who may have the HIV virus and do not know, to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. New York State's HIV testing law provides a convenient and accessible way to get tested while visiting your health care provider."

Approximately 156,000 New Yorkers are infected with HIV, and 18 percent of them--nearly 30,000---are unaware they have the virus. Early diagnosis is critical to slowing the spread of the HIV virus. More than 30 percent of new HIV cases are considered "late diagnoses," defined as diagnosed with AIDS at the same time or within 12 months of the initial HIV diagnosis. Many of these individuals are immunologically compromised and pose a much higher transmission risk than those who are diagnosed early and receiving appropriate care and HIV medications.

Under the State's HIV testing law, which went into effect in September 2010, HIV testing must be offered to all individuals ages 13 to 64 who receive hospital or primary care services. The HIV test must be offered to inpatients, people seeking services in emergency departments, and people receiving primary care as outpatients at clinics or from physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners or midwives.

While everyone should know their HIV status, testing is particularly important for those who have:

  • Injected drugs or steroids with others or used shared equipment (e.g. syringes, needles, works) currently or any time in the past;
  • Been diagnosed with or been treated for hepatitis, tuberculosis (TB), or a sexually transmitted disease such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia or syphilis;
  • Had unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with multiple partners, anonymous partners, or men who have sex with men;  
  • Had sex with a partner they located on the Internet.

Where to get an HIV test in your area:

In New York City: Call 1-800-TALK HIV or dial 311.

Rest of State:

Albany Region

1-800-962-5065

Buffalo Region

1-800-962-5064

Lower Hudson Valley Region

1-800-828-0064

Rochester Region

1-800-962-5063

Long Island Region (Nassau/Suffolk)

1-800-462-6786

Syracuse Region

1-800-562-9423