Although the rate of AIDS diagnosis is higher in Manhattan, the Bronx has New York's highest AIDS death rate — a figure health officials blame on people not getting tested until it's too late to manage the disease. In order to curb the graveness of an HIV diagnoses, the city has launched a campaign to test everyone in the Bronx.
Starting Friday, if you go to a Bronx hospital for an unrelated ailment, doctors will test you for HIV unless you object. New York state law requires written consent and patient counseling to go along with an HIV test. The Bronx initiative will shorten the 20-minute counseling session to five minutes and offer routine tests at emergency rooms and storefront clinics. Elected officials, health-care providers, and clergy members plan to assist the effort for universal testing.
Why do you think people don't get tested on their own? Would you avoid an HIV test if you first had to listen to 20 minutes of what will happen if it comes back positive? Could this publicized campaign somehow stigmatize the Bronx?