June 26, 2013
Suffolk Health Commissioner to Public:
“Know Your HIV Status”
Dr. James Tomarken, Commissioner of Health Service today urged residents to get tested for HIV, the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDs).
Under a New York 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. This applies to hospitalized patients, persons seeking services in emergency departments, and persons receiving primary care at clinics or from physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners or midwives.
“We urge individuals to get tested,” said Dr. Tomarken. “Our concern is that one in five New York residents is living with HIV and is unaware that he or she is carrying the virus, so they are not receiving treatment. Treatment is most effective when the virus is diagnosed in its earlier stages.”
All residents are encouraged to learn their status, especially those who have had unprotected sex with multiple partners, those who have shared needles when injecting drugs or steroids, and those who have been treated for hepatitis, tuberculosis or a sexually transmitted disease.
Thursday, June 27, is National HIV Testing Day. Free, anonymous and rapid testing is available to residents throughout the county. Residents needing assistance in finding a testing location may call the Long Island Regional Anonymous HIV Counseling and Testing Program at 1-800-462-6786.