The Bronx has a higher death rate from AIDS than any of the boroughs in New York City. And according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control, the rate of HIV infections in the U.S. is growing among young African American men. Armed with this disturbing data, the New York City public health officials are leveraging a strategy adopted in Washington, DC, another city with high rates of HIV infection. The NYC health officials have launched a campaign to urge all adults in the borough get tested routinely for the virus. Using a similar approach two years ago, Washington, DC was able to diagnose more people early, significantly increasing their chances of survival. In the Bronx, public officials explain that late diagnosis is the cause of the high death rate from AIDS. People are not getting tested until they are very sick and are diagnosed with full-blown AIDS.
City officials estimate that 40 percent of the 830,000 people ages 18 to 64 in the Bronx have been tested for HIV in the past year. Half of the remainder, about 250,000 people, have never been tested, and the goal is to test them first. Tests would be given at 40 designated sites, including clinics, community centers, churches and emergency rooms.