National HIV Testing Day is June 27; Acting State Health Commissioner Urges All New Yorkers Tested for HIV

14 Percent of Infected Persons in the State Have Not Been Diagnosed

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 26, 2014) - In recognition of National HIV Testing Day on Thursday, June 27, Acting State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, MD, JD, urges all New Yorkers to get tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, noting that an estimated 14 percent of infected persons in New York State have not been diagnosed.

"New York State has been successful in prevention efforts, evidenced by data showing a steady reduction in new HIV diagnoses," Acting Commissioner Zucker, said. "Yet, there is still much work to be done. The Department estimates that about 22,000 of the 154,000 New Yorkers currently infected with HIV are unaware of their HIV status. New York's HIV testing law makes it easy to get tested for HIV during a visit with a health care provider. I urge New Yorkers to say 'yes' when offered an HIV test."

Under a state law that took effect September 2010, HIV testing must be offered to all persons between the ages of 13 and 64 who receive hospital or primary care services. The offering of an HIV test must be made to inpatients, persons seeking services in emergency departments and those receiving primary care as outpatients at clinics or from physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners or midwives.

More recently in April 2014, changes in New York State Public Health Law allow for oral patient consent to an HIV test in almost all cases. Written consent is required for HIV testing performed in state and local correctional facilities. Additionally, the recent changes allow for HIV-related information reported to the NYS Department of Health or local departments of health to be used to support the departments' work with doctors to help HIV-infected persons stay in care.

"Early HIV detection along with access to and retention in quality HIV care can lead to a reduction in viral load, which enhances health and quality of life and reduces the chance of transmitting the virus," said Dan O'Connell, Director of the Department of Health's AIDS Institute. "The fact that more HIV tests are being offered is a major step forward. However, it is vitally important that HIV testing truly becomes a part of routine health care for New Yorkers. To this end, providers must offer HIV testing consistently and patients need to accept. Persons with obvious risk factors, such as unprotected sex or sharing injection equipment, should seek testing regularly."

For more information, please visit the Department's HIV/AIDS website at:

Additionally, the National HIV and STD Testing Resource website at enables visitors to enter a zip code and find local testing sites in that area. Cell phone users can send a text message containing their zip code to "KNOWIT" (566948) and within seconds receive a return text message listing an HIV testing site in that area.