THE BRONX - New York City health officials say they want every adult resident of the Bronx to get tested for HIV in the next three years.

Health officials say that although Manhattan has the highest number of HIV and AIDS cases, the Bronx has the highest AIDS- related death rate in the city- about one third of all HIV patients who die in the city are from the Bronx.

They attribute this statistic to the fact that infected Bronx residents wait too long to get tested. If detected in an early stage, the disease can often be managed with the help of medication.

To meet the three-year goal, about 40 emergency rooms and clinics throughout the borough will begin making voluntary testing routine.

Doctors say the more people get tested, the more chances they have of getting appropriate help and protecting their partners.

?I think before people were under the impression that HIV testing is a long process, that it?s something that wasn?t readily available to them,? says Dr. David Collymore, director of Soundview Health Clinic. ?It?s really important to catch them when they have that desire to get tested.?

The health initiative will be officially announced Friday in honor of national HIV Testing Day.