HIV Testing Initiatives: New York Knows

New York Knows is the nation’s largest HIV testing initiative. It aims to help all New York City residents learn their HIV status and take full advantage of the City’s HIV care and prevention services. On December 1, 2014 (World AIDS Day), the New York City Health Department launched New York Knows and introduced #beHIVsure, a public education media campaign encouraging all New Yorkers to get tested.

Through New York Knows, the New York City Health Department partners with community-based organizations, community health centers, hospitals, colleges, universities, faith-based organizations and businesses to:

  • Provide a voluntary HIV test to every New York City resident who has never been tested. (Testing is done at Health Department clinics, as well as at partnering hospitals, community-based organizations and universities.)
  • Make HIV testing a routine part of health care in New York City.
  • Identify undiagnosed HIV-positive people in New York City and link them to medical care.
  • Connect at-risk people who test negative for HIV to prevention services, including Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis PrEP.

The program grew out of successful borough-wide initiatives. In 2008, the Health Department launched The Bronx Knows, a large-scale public health intervention to increase voluntary HIV testing in the Bronx. In just 3 years, The Bronx Knows (PDF) community partners conducted 607,570 HIV tests, more than doubling the initiative’s goal. In 2010, the initiative was expanded with Brooklyn Knows. To date, more than 160 partners have conducted over 1.8 million HIV tests, identified 4,544 people newly diagnosed with HIV and linked 79% of those to care through The Bronx Knows and Brooklyn Knows.

HIV Testing Recommendations

Testing is central to all three points in the Governor’s plan to End the Epidemic by 2020. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that health care providers test everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 at least once as part of routine health care. In New York State, primary care providers are mandated by law to offer their patients (ages 13 to 64) an HIV test as part of routine health care. People who engage in behaviors that put them at risk for HIV should be tested at least once a year. Sexually active gay and bisexual men, injection drug users and people who exchange sex for money or drugs may benefit from more frequent testing, such as every 3 to 6 months.

For more information on HIV testing recommendations, download the HIV Testing Technologies: Testing Algorithm & Recommendations (PDF).

For additional HIV testing resources, go to the HIV Testing Online Toolkit.

How Your Practice/Organization Can Support New York Knows

Become a New York Knows partner and help end the HIV epidemic in New York.

As a partner, your organization will benefit from excellent networking and collaboration opportunities with over 225 fellow New York Knows organizations. The Health Department also provides technical assistance in testing, linkage to care and other supportive services. Partners can also take advantage of workshops, meetings, events and promotional materials designed for New York Knows (PDF).

As a partner you will be expected to:

  • Designate a point person at your agency to interact with the initiative.
  • Attend meetings (monthly conference calls and quarterly meetings)
  • Develop an institutional policy to increase HIV testing and referrals for prevention and care (if you already test for HIV or if you want to start testing).
  • Host or participate in community testing events.
  • Include links to New York Knows on your organization’s website.
  • Talk publicly about the initiative and about the importance of testing.
  • Report aggregate HIV testing data on a quarterly basis, if applicable.

Email NewYorkKnows@health.nyc.gov, or call 311 for more information on how to join New York Knows.