Gov. Cuomo touts historic low for new HIV cases on World AIDS Day

Photo by Mike Groll, Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo
December 1, 2020 – Albany, NY – On World AIDS Day, December 1, several state buildings and landmarks – including the State Education Building, pictured here – were lit in red to mark the occasion. Governor Andrew Cuomo that the most recent data from 2019 shows that the estimated number of new infections, or HIV incidences that occurred statewide in 2019, fell to an all-time low of 1,700 cases. New confirmed HIV diagnoses in 2019 also reached an all-time low of 2,377 — a four percent drop from 2018 and a 31 percent drop since the start of ETE.

To mark World AIDS Day — Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York state has “bent the curve” on the HIV epidemic. 

Data collected for 2019 shows the number of infections, as well as HIV-related incidences, that occurred statewide hit an all-time low of 1,700 cases. This record low achieves a primary goal of the Ending the Epidemic (ETE) initiative.

New confirmed HIV diagnoses in 2019 also reached an all-time low of 2,377 — a 4 percent drop from 2018 and a 31 percent drop since the start of ETE.

The ETE initiative was launched in June of 2014 to help move closer to the eradication of the epidemic in New York. The goals of the initiative are: identifying undiagnosed and untreated persons with HIV; providing and maintaining health care for persons diagnosed with HIV to maximize virus suppression and minimize spread, and providing access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to anyone at high risk of contracting HIV. 

“Today is World AIDS Day,” Gov. Cuomo said, “… The estimated number of new infections or HIV incidence that occurred statewide in 2019 fell to an all-time low. HIV incidence has declined each year since we started the End the Epidemic campaign — a 38 percent decrease over that timeframe, so that is extraordinarily good news and we’re going to continue to work on that.”

To further reduce the spread of blood-bourne illnesses like HIV/AIDs, the state Department of Health (DOH) approved two Second-Tier Syringe Exchange Programs run by the Addiction Center of Broome County and Hudson Valley Community Services. These programs are meant to complement the state’s other syringe access initiatives, and they do so by allowing approved not-for-profit organizations and government agencies to provide sterile injection equipment to patients without a prescription.

Gov. Cuomo also directed that the following state landmarks be illuminated with red lights in recognition of World AIDS Day:

  • One World Trade Centre
  • Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • The Kosciuszko Bridge
  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • The State Education Building
  • The Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • The New York State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center
  • Niagara Falls
  • The Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge
  • Grand Central Terminal – Pershing Square Viaduct
  • The Albany International Airport Gateway
  • The Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex

It was also found that 83 percent of New Yorkers who were newly diagnosed with HIV were provided care within 30 days, and that viral suppression among those being cared for reached 89 percent at the end of 2019. 

The 2019 data also shows that efforts to raise awareness about preventing transmission of HIV has led to nearly 40,000 New Yorkers taking PrEP, which is a nearly 25 percent increase from 2018.

All of this data was released during the state’s fifth annual “ETE Summit,” which was a virtual event held in conjunction with World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 through Thursday Dec. 3, 2020.