Elected officials gather on National Black HIV Awareness Day to call for better testing across NYC
Tuesday marks National Black HIV Awareness Day, and elected officials and advocates took the opportunity to support a law that would help increase rapid testing across the boroughs
The state’s Department of Health says over 2,300 people were living with HIV in the Bronx as of December 2021, and more than half of them are Black. In Brooklyn, over 2,100 people were living with HIV, and more than 60% of them are Black.
Elected officials and advocates marked the day with a rally outside of City Hall. Council Member Pierina Sanchez was joined by members of the Women’s and LGBTQ Caucus.
Those outside City Hall were calling for the passing of a bill that would require the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene to ensure people have rapid testing in all boroughs, with an emphasis on communities with higher infection rates.
“The rapid testing is accessible and it is essential for both individual and community health,” said Sanchez. “We need to reduce the stigma and barriers of mental health and social support for adults with HIV.”
Officials say there has been progress, but that bigger gains can be made with the scientific improvements to testing and treatment.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams is hosting an open panel tonight to discuss the issue further. The panel runs until 8 p.m.