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Fall/Winter 2009

News from

The Bronx Knows An update for our partners

Welcome New Partners

· AIDS Healthcare Foundation · CitiWide Harm Reduction · HELP/PSI, Inc. · Narco Freedom, Inc.

Dear Partners:

Welcome to the second issue of News from The Bronx Knows.


Congratulations to participating community organizations for being the first group to submit second quarter 2009 data, with its quarterly HIV testing up 35% since January 1.

With your support, The Bronx Knows now has more than 67 partners representing over 145 testing sites and is well on its way to having all Bronx residents know their HIV status. Together, we can help make HIV testing routine and accessible. If you have questions or would like more information, please email us at [email protected] or visit Congratulations on a great job. Let's keep the momentum going! Sincerely,

Inside you'll find the latest information about The Bronx Knows HIV testing initiative and what we've been working on, including details from this summer's anniversary event and our outdoor media campaign, as well as a new question and answer section called "Ask Dr. Sweeney." We've also featured Urban Starzz as our partner of the quarter, for their outstanding leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS and dedication to The Bronx Knows initiative.

M. Monica Sweeney, MD, MPH Assistant Commissioner New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

New Community Co-Chairs

Susan Amenechi-Enahoro, MD, MPH Director, HIV Services Morris Heights Health Center Michael Henry, MD Medical Director, HIV/AIDS Clinical Education and Training Program Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center

A special thank you to our first-year community co-chairs, Jose Davila, Executive Director of Bronx AIDS Services, Inc. and Dr. Donna Futterman, Director of the Adolescent AIDS Program at Montefiore Medical Center, for their leadership and invaluable contribution. For a complete list of partners and steering committee members,visit


Anniversary Marks Significant Increase in HIV Testing

This June marked the first anniversary of The Bronx Knows initiative. Community partners, health officials and former New York basketball stars John Starks and Kym Hampton gathered at the New York Botanical Garden to mark the occasion and celebrate the encouraging results. Dr. Blayne Cutler, the Health Department's Director of HIV Prevention, announced that participating clinics, hospitals and community organizations increased HIV testing 28%* and nearly 160,000 Bronx residents were tested since the initiative's kick-off. "Knowing your status is one of the best things you can do to stop the spread of HIV," said NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, in his message."Bronx residents are taking the lead by getting tested." Former President Clinton, Mayor Bloomberg and CDC Director and former NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden also sent their congratulations through video messages.

* Based

on prelimary data.

Media Campaign Encourages Bronx Residents to Get Tested

We continued The Bronx Knows media campaign with an eye-catching new look and vibrant artwork. The outdoor campaign, which ran through the summer, featured posters, bodega boards, subway turnstile covers and door hangers, encouraging Bronx residents to learn their HIV status.

Partner of the Quarter: Urban Starzz

Congratulations to Bronx boutique and wellness spa, Urban Starzz, for their exceptional service and leadership in helping to make HIV testing more accessible in the Bronx. Located in the South Tremont section, Urban Starzz is a community hotspot combining the latest in apparel and footwear, a wellness spa, body art and a salon, all in one location. Community leader April De Simone, the owner of Urban Starzz, recently teamed up with The Bronx Knows, Planned Parenthood Project Street Beat and the Dominican Sisters Family Health Services to offer HIV awareness events at the store, including free, confidential HIV testing, music, refreshments and giveaways. "We hope to inspire other local businesses to join the HIV awareness movement and help make the Bronx the first borough to have all residents tested," said De Simone. We applaud Urban Starzz for their commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS and dedication to The Bronx Knows initiative. For more information, visit

Ask Dr. Sweeney


"Acute" HIV Can you tell me more about "acute" HIV infection? What are the symptoms? And is there a test for it?

Acute HIV infection is the earliest stage of HIV. Often a person with acute HIV will develop flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, sore throat, swollen glands or lymph nodes, rash and joint or muscle aches. Because the symptoms are similar to other illnesses, such as mononucleosis (mono) or the flu, acute HIV can be hard to detect and diagnose. Regular HIV antibody tests won't detect acute HIV. This is because regular HIV tests look only for antibodies, which can take about two months for the body to produce. Therefore, a person who was infected very recently will receive a negative result using HIV antibody tests. There are tests, however, that look for the virus (antigen) itself. If a patient is suspected of having acute HIV, be sure to test for both HIV antibodies and the virus (antigen), and provide appropriate counseling. If your organization doesn't offer viral testing, refer patients to a hospital or health center for acute HIV testing. It's very important to counsel patients on risk-reduction behaviors while waiting for viral test or repeat antibody results.

continued on back page

Ask Dr. Sweeney continued


CLEP Requirements My agency already offers rapid HIV testing using oral swabs. However, we'd also like to offer a rapid HIV finger stick test. What are the NYS CLEP (Clinical Laboratory Evaluation Program) requirements? To add another rapid test to your HIV testing program, simply fill out a DOH-4236e Limited Service Laboratory Registration Notification to Add and/or Delete Analyte(s) Form at Administrative/ltranalyte.pdf, and send it with your agency's revised quality assurance protocol to the address on the top of the form.

In addition, workers administering rapid blood tests must comply with universal precautions and OSHA blood pathogen standards.

For CLEP permit application materials, visit Forms.htm. Have an HIV-related question for Dr. Sweeney? Send your question(s) to [email protected]

We Need Your Help

Your HIV testing data are crucial in helping us track the initiative's progress and in planning future events. To submit your quarterly data, visit

HIV Partner Notification Resources

New York State Public Health Law requires providers to talk to HIV infected patients about options for notifying partners of possible exposure. It also requires providers to report the names of known partners of HIV infected patients to the NYS Department of Health. For HIV/AIDS Provider Report Forms, call the NYC Health Department's HIV Surveillance Program at 212-442-3388 or visit how.shtml. Contact Notification Assistance Program The NYC Health Department's free Contact Notification Assistance Program provides information, support and guidance to HIV-positive patients and providers who would like help notifying partners. For more information, call 212-693-1419 or visit is a web site for people diagnosed with HIV or other STIs to notify their partners anonymously about possible exposure. Partners who receive an card can also visit the site for information about testing and treatment.



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