THE BRONX - Jacobi Medical Center and North Central Bronx Hospital offered free rapid HIV testing Thursday to raise awareness and to give people peace of mind.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of Americans living with HIV don't know they have it.

Hospital administrators say taking as little as 20 minutes out of a day could ultimately mean the difference between life and death. Health experts believe seeking treatment sooner for HIV can sometimes stop the progression to AIDS.

The process for the rapid HIV test consists of watching a short video before the test. The test itself requires no blood ? only a saliva swab ? and results are available the same day. Counselors are also on hand.The hospitals have tested 11,000 people since they started offering the free tests in 2005.

The annual AIDS Walk New York is May 18 in Central Park.

AIDS Walk New York