On the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots, Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a three-point plan to lower New Yorkers' rate of HIV infection below the number of HIV-related deaths.
The plan prioritizes three planks that focus on reducing new HIV infections to 750 cases by 2020. Last year, the state reported 3,000 new HIV infections, which is down from 14,000 in 1993.
"Thirty years ago, New York was the epicenter of the AIDS crisis. Today, I am proud to announce that we are in a position to be the first state in the nation committed to ending this epidemic," Cuomo said in a statement.
The first plank of the plan is to identify HIV-infected individuals who remain undiagnosed help them get care. Once they get care, the state wants to make sure they have anti-HIV therapy available to them so as to suppress the virus and prevent transmission.
The final objective is to provide access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis — or PrEP — to high-risk persons, whereby HIV-negative individuals take daily antiviral medication to reduce risk of transmission.
There is no ready estimate of how much the plan might cost, but the administration argued it can save the sate $317 million, and almost $400,000 in lifetime medical costs for each case of avoided infection.
Advocates around the state commended the plan as ambitious but attainable.
"We have the tools and know-how to end the AIDS epidemic in New York," community organizer for VOCAL New York Jason Walker said in a statement. "The only question is whether we have the political will."
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