The Development and Implementation of an Outreach Program to Identify Acute and Recent HIV Infections in New York City

Richard Silvera1, 2, Dylan Stein1, 2, Richard Hutt1, 2, Robert Hagerty1, 2, Demetre Daskalakis2, 3, 4, Fred Valentine2, 3, Michael Marmor*, 1, 2, 3
1 Department of Environmental Medicine, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA
2 Center for AIDS Research, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA
3 Department of Medicine, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA
4 Bellevue Hospital Center, New York, NY, USA

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© Silvera et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Environmental Medicine, NYU School of Medicine, 650 First Avenue, Room 560, KIP, New York, NY 10016, USA; Fax: 212-263-8570; Tel: 212-263-6667; E-mail:


Introduction: Since 2004, the authors have been operating First Call NYU, an outreach program to identify acute and recent HIV infections, also called primary HIV infections, among targeted at-risk communities in the New York City (NYC) metropolitan area.

Materials and Methodology: First Call NYU employed mass media advertising campaigns, outreach to healthcare providers in NYC, and Internet-based efforts including search engine optimization (SEO) and Internet-based advertising to achieve these goals.

Results: Between October 2004 and October 2008, 571 individuals were screened through this program, leading to 446 unique, in-person screening visits. 47 primary HIV infections, including 14 acute and 33 recent HIV infections, were identified.

Discussion: Internet and traditional recruitment methods can be used to increase self-referrals for screening following possible exposure to HIV.

Conclusion: Community education of at-risk groups, with the goal of increased self-diagnosis of possible acute HIV infection, may be a useful addition to traditional efforts to identify such individuals.

Keywords: HIV, New York City, Patient selection, Community-institutional relations, Advertising as topic, Internet, Mass media..