In recognition of National HIV Testing Day on Saturday, June 27, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) urges New Yorkers to take control of their health by learning their HIV status.
HHC’s routine HIV testing program is now considered the largest of its kind by any single healthcare system in the U.S. As the State’s largest provider of HIV primary care, HHC hospitals and health centers have tested more than 1.5 million New York City residents in the eight years since it began to routinely offer HIV testing to all its patients every day in emergency rooms, in-patient units, and outpatient clinics. HHC provides HIV testing and treatment services throughout the five boroughs has answered patient questions and has connected more than 14,000 HIV-positive patients to care.
“Active HIV testing and early treatment greatly improve the health of our patients but also contributes to keeping our communities healthy,” said HHC President Dr. Ram Raju. “HHC is a pioneer in routinizing HIV testing. Our efforts not only helped to remove the stigma associated with testing, but also made the process broadly accessible and simple for everyone who enters our health care facilities.”
HHC’s 11 acute care hospitals are Designated AIDS Centers, and HHC hospitals and community health centers offer specialized HIV care to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status. Services include:
- Rapid HIV testing –Testing is fast, easy and confidential. Tests are available at all HHC hospitals and community health centers in the five boroughs. Get results in less than 30 minutes.
- Access to Care – HHC healthcare facilities have a seamless system to immediately link people to continuous, team-based and coordinated quality care if they are HIV positive or need other services. People with an HIV diagnosis receive antiretroviral treatment and self-management health education to help them be healthier, live longer and prevent transmission.
- Expert HIV/AIDS Provider Teams – From physicians to support staff, HHC hospitals are home to nationally recognized HIV/AIDS specialists who have been on the front lines in the battle against this illness, providing compassionate care, testing, developing treatment plans and participating in important research.
- MetroPlus Health Plan – HHC’s health insurance plan MetroPlus has an HIV Special Needs Plan that provides comprehensive medical and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS.
Here are simple tips to help reduce the risk of contracting HIV:
- Get tested.
- Use condoms every time you have sex and use them correctly.
- Get tested between partners and know your partners’ HIV stats.
- Limit your number of sexual partners.
- Get tested for sexually transmitted infections.
- Ask your doctor about PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) available for men and women.
- Don’t inject drugs, and if you do, don’t share needles.
- If you are living with HIV and are pregnant, get regular medical care. You can lower your risk of transmitting the disease to your baby by taking antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, having a C-section, and abstain from breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation’s 30 year leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS was recognized in 2011 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for achieving a major milestone: one million unique New Yorkers tested for HIV. To find an HHC public hospital or clinic that offers HIV testing call 311 or visit http://www.nyc.gov/hhc.