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Survey: New York Needs More Protected Sex in the City

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NEW YORK, Aug 9 (AFP) - Most New Yorkers with multiple sexual partners are ignorant of their HIV status and 42 percent did not use a condom the last time they had sex, according to an official report released Saturday.

Despite years of HIV awareness schemes and free, one-hour HIV testing, the report from the New York City health department, titled "Sex in the City: More HIV Testing Needed," showed that only 58 percent of people with three or more partners in the last year used a condom in their last sexual encounter.

Two-thirds of people at high risk from HIV have not been tested recently.

"While most New Yorkers are having safer sex, many people still are not," city Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said in a statement.

"HIV is preventable, but too many people are not taking basic steps to protect themselves and their partners," Friedman said, adding that among gay men at high risk, one third did not use a condom the last time they had sex.

The report was based on a telephone survey of 10,000 New Yorkers.

The health department said more than 100,000 New Yorkers were estimated to be living with HIV or AIDS, including at least 25,000 who are HIV-positive but have not yet been diagnosed.

HIV is the leading cause of death among New Yorkers aged 25-44, and the report found that frequency of condom use was age-specific.

Among people aged 45 to 64, 24 percent said they used a condom the last time they had sex. Among those 18 to 24, the figure was 61 percent, and rose to 73 percent for those who had three or more partners.

"Because many New Yorkers are still at high risk from HIV, we cannot become complacent,' Frieden said.

"Many people will continue to die from AIDS until everyone with HIV is treated and everyone who is sexually active uses condoms," he added.



COPYRIGHT 2003 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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