Health dept. provided over 1,700 free HIV self-test kits

A city campaign to help New Yorkers get tested for HIV was successful and shed more light on the epidemic, according to the health department.

The agency announced Wednesday that the agency handed out over 1,700 free self-test kits to men and transgender people who have sex with other men (MTSM) during a giveaway last year.

The initiative, which was promoted on apps such as Grindr and Scruff, also gave the health department new data on the MTSM population that showed it needed to do more outreach.

About 14% of the eligible applicants reported never having been tested for HIV and 29% reported their last HIV test was more than a year ago.

“No high-quality testing option should be overlooked, especially one that puts HIV tests in the hands of people who may not come to traditional testing venues,” Assistant Health Commissioner Dr. Demetre Daskalakis said in a statement.

In 2014, there were 2,718 new HIV diagnoses and more than 119,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the city.

The health department said it will expand its self-test giveaway program by partnering with community groups and the state health department this fall.


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