Report: Many New Yorkers unaware of HIV status

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com August 11 2003 11:00 PM ET

A report released last week by New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene shows that more than half of the city's residents who have multiple sex partners have not been tested for HIV antibodies and that 40% of them did not use a condom the last time they had sex, The New York Times reports. The report, titled "Sex in the City: More HIV Testing and Condom Use Needed," included survey responses from more than 10,000 city residents. According to the report, only about 26% of the respondents had taken an HIV antibody test within the past 18 months, with the percentage rising to about 34% for those who had sex with three or more partners in the previous year. About 45% of gay and bisexual men reported using a condom the last time they had sex, compared with about 38% of heterosexual male respondents. Condom use was lowest among men and women ages 45 to 64 and was highest among young men and women ages 18 to 24.

"While most New Yorkers are having safer sex, many people still are not," said city health commissioner Thomas Frieden said. "HIV is preventable, but too many people are not taking basic steps to protect themselves and their partners. Sex in the city needs to get safer, and HIV testing needs to be a routine part of medical care. Anyone who's ever had sex, anyone who's ever used [intravenous] drugs, needs to know their HIV status."