June 5, 2009

Senate Health Committee Chair Thomas K. Duane (D WFP, Manhattan)

With National HIV Testing Day approaching on June 27, consider this:

One in ten HIV+ women live in New York City. The Big Apple has three times the national average of people living with HIV/AIDS. And our city houses more AIDS cases than Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and Washington DCcombined.

The bottom line is clear: The time to expand HIV testing and services is now.

With that in mind, ASC and other AIDS service organizations in New York have endorsed HIV testing legislation that will expand HIV testing, making it easier and more routine (links to ASC press release). "Far too many individuals learn of their HIV status concurrently with an AIDS diagnosis, and far too many persons are HIV infected and not aware of their status," said Sharen Duke, CEO of AIDS Service Center NYC.

"I am pleased that ASC is among the many diverse organizations working directly with New Yorkers infected with and affected by HIV, who recognize that this bill takes the best approach to increase testing, ensure early treatment for those who are HIV-positive and prevent new infections at this moment in the evolving epidemic," says Senator Thomas K. Duane, Health Committee Chair, and co-sponsor of the bill with Assemblyman Dick Gottfried.

National HIV Testing Day reminds us there's a long way to go to stop the epidemic. AIDS service agencies like ASC use multiple strategies to improve the care and treatment of people living with HIV and AIDS. ASC provides confidential rapid HIV testing, distributes free condoms, helps people with housing, and connects people to medical, mental health and drug treatment services.

Another of ASC's efforts to increase awareness and promote testing is our June 25 th fundraiser, Safer Sex in the City. This high-energy event promotes safer sex and well-being in the age of AIDS; Vivid Girl Savannah Samson is a co-host. "In my industry, everyone is comfortable saying that they've been tested. Unfortunately, in the rest of the world, this is something that still makes people uncomfortable," she says.

Other celebrities, including Cynthia Nixon, Pamela Anderson, Joy Behar, Margaret Cho, Flotilla DeBarge, Linda Eder, Ellie Krieger, Robert LaFosse, & Gloria Ruben have joined forces with ASC to bring the message of HIV prevention, testing, and treatment to all New Yorkers in need.

Photo: David Nager/ASCNYC

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