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Free HIV Tests Offered In Times Square, Atlantic Terminal

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The city's Department of Health is offering free HIV testing today to mark National HIV Testing Day and the 30th anniversary of the discovery of AIDS.

As part of the "New York Knows" program, the nonprofit Community Healthcare Network is offering free and confidential testing in Times Square and at the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn.

The oral swab test takes moments and participants will receive results on-site within 20 minutes.

"It's good for me to know what's in my life, just to protect my wife," said participant Ali Suraj.

Tom Donohue, the founder of Who's Positive, tested positive for HIV eight years ago. He got HIV through unprotected sex, and now encourages everyone to get tested.

"Had I not been tested eight years ago, I potentially could be infecting other people without knowing it. My health could be deteriorating," said Donohue. "I have the tools now to keep myself very healthy and vibrant."

CHN officials say progress has been made in treatments and prevention of HIV and AIDS, but there are still challenges.

Last year, seven thousand 7,000 tested HIV-positive, and one in four New Yorkers who do not know their status may be HIV-positive.

Many local teenagers are also not informed about safe sex practices.

"We have to remind people of the nature of HIV/AIDS, the importance of safe sex, and the importance of knowing your status, getting tested and getting into early care," said CHN President and CEO Catherine Abate.

People should get tested every three to six months, depending on their sexual activity.

The free testing, at 43rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues in Manhattan and at the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, lasts until 4 p.m.

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