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Your Black World: HIV in NYC Getting Outrageous

by on August 28, 2008

New York City’s rate of HIV infection is about three times the national rate, according to estimates released Wednesday by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Rapid HIV test swabs incubate at the Iris House in New York in 2007.

Rapid HIV test swabs incubate at the Iris House in New York in 2007.

The agency estimates that 72 of every 100,000 New Yorkers — a total of 4,800 individuals — contracted HIV in 2006, more than triple the national rate of 23 per 100,000.

The findings are based on new lab technology and a newly derived statistical model developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The lab technology enables health officials to determine whether HIV-positive individuals contracted the virus within the past five months, and the statistical model allows researchers to then make projections about a population’s infection rate.

HIV, or the human immunodeficiency virus, is the virus that causes AIDS.

The Health Department points to the city’s demographics.


“The populations that bear the greatest burden nationally — blacks, for example, and men who have sex with men — are highly represented in New York City,” Health Commissioner Thomas Freidan said in a written statement. “Because HIV is more prevalent within those groups, the risk of HIV infection per sexual contact is higher.”

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