NEW YORK, NEW YORK – In the days leading up to National HIV Testing Day, Sunday, June 27th, the AHF’s Magic Johnson ‘Testing America’ Tour will wrap up its six month, 48 state national HIV testing tour with four free HIV testing events—in partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene—in four boroughs of New York City—Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. Partnering with Iris House, the first event will take place on Thursday, June 24th at the Iris House HIV Summit with testing offered from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd St. in Manhattan. On Friday, June 25th, working with the Amethyst Women’s Project and the Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, testing will be offered in Coney Island from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM at West 20th Street between Mermaid and Surf Avenues. Saturday’s event will take place in the Bronx at the Promenade at Orchard Beach, Section 9 from 12:00 Noon to 6:00 PM along with partners The Bronx Knows, Community Healthcare Network and Hispanic AIDS Forum. The event on National HIV Testing Day, Sunday, June 27th, will take place at Manuel de Dios Unanue Park at 83rd and Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights from 12:00 Noon to 5:00 PM with partner Voces Latinas.
The AHF/Magic Johnson ‘Testing America’ tour, which kicked off in Los Angeles in January—is part of a collaborative effort to raise local and national awareness about the importance—and ease—of HIV testing and to challenge attitudes about moving toward a streamlined model of HIV testing and counseling nationwide. AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is proud to continue its second HIV Testing Tour across the US after the successful completion of its recent and ambitious 14 city AHF Magic Johnson HIV Testing Caravan in mid-2009.
“After traveling 20,000 miles, testing 4,300 people and referring 27 people into treatment, it has been—and continues to be—a privilege to witness first-hand the lines of people wanting to get tested, as well as the incredible commitment of those who have dedicated themselves to working in the field of HIV/AIDS outreach and services all across the country,” said Azul Mares-DelGrasso, National HIV Testing Tour Manager, AHF’s Public Health Division.
“Working with respected local partners, including the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Iris House, Amethyst Women’s Project, Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, The Bronx Knows, Community Healthcare Network, Hispanic AIDS Forum and Voces Latinas—we have been demonstrating just how easy HIV testing can be. At each stop along the way on this nationwide tour—including Manhattan, Coney Island, the Bronx and Jackson Heights—we have been hosting or participating in free mobile HIV testing events and media events to raise awareness about the importance of testing.”
“After six months on the road, AHF is proud to culminate the 6-month tour by partnering with the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene in four free testing events in the days leading up to National HIV Testing Day,” said Eric Boyd, Testing USA HIV Testing Counselor. ”We would like to thank New York City for welcoming us. And we are grateful to all of the wonderful collaborating partners we have worked with along the way whose efforts to reach out to communities in need to provide easy and accessible testing services is to be applauded.”
During the testing tour, AIDS Healthcare Foundation has also presented $1,000 grants to each of the local partners. And throughout the course of testing tour, HIV testing counselors have supplied a steady stream of updates, videos and images via new media: YouTube, Facebook and Twitter postings from along the route, interviews with local partners, government officials and interviews with people who were tested on the mobile unit. The team has also kept up a blog on www.freeHIVtest.net, telling stories from the road and chronicling the journey in words and in portraits.
HIV Statistics in the United States
In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) began recommending routine HIV testing for all people ages 13-64, a recommendation that has not been widely implemented nationwide to date. According to an HIV/AIDS Policy Fact Sheet produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation (“The HIV/AIDS Epidemic in the United States”, updated, September, 2009, with statistics through 2007), the CDC reports that:
There are approximately 1.1 million people currently living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, more than 468,000 of whom are living with an AIDS-defining illness.
Among the 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS, an estimated 21% do not know they are infected (down from 25% in 2003).
Many people with HIV are diagnosed late in their illness; in 2006, 36% received an AIDS diagnosis within one year of testing HIV positive.
“It is crucial that people know their HIV status and learn how to avoid becoming infected with HIV; or if they are infected, know their status, and seek medical treatment, if needed,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “AHF is proud to have spearheaded this national AHF/Magic Johnson Testing America tour as a collaborative effort to raise awareness—and reduce stigma—around HIV testing.”
NEW YORK HIV/AIDS statistics
(CDC statistics through 2007, via Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts)
· Cumulative AIDS Cases in NEW YORK: 17.4% of US total (192, 753 AIDS cases through 2008, per CDC)
· AIDS Diagnosis Rate per 100,000 population in NEW YORK: 23.5 (for the US, the rate is 12.3) (per CDC 2008)
· Estimated number of people living with AIDS in NEW YORK, all ages, 2007—74,652 (15.9% of US total)
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AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and services to more than 136,000 individuals in 23 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific region and Eastern Europe. www.aidshealth.org.