Governor Cuomo calls for the end of the NY AIDS epidemic by 2020

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has joined prominent AIDS researchers, as well many HIV/AIDS organizations, by setting the year 2020 as the year that AIDS will not be at epidemic levels in New York. Gov. Cuomo’s plan calls to identify those living with the virus by testing, get them into treatment and continue to follow up to be sure they adhere to their treatment.

“Thirty years ago, New York was the epicenter of the AIDS crisis,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement on Saturday. “We are in a position to be the first state in the nation committed to ending this epidemic.”

The governor’s plan builds upon “key policies already enacted,” the administration said, to track those infected, identify those who do not know they are infected and make sure they all get the treatment they need. The prospect of ending the AIDS epidemic is gaining momentum in epidemiological circles. It is based on studies showing that AIDS drugs have a double-barreled effect not just as treatment but as a means of blocking transmission. On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a leading AIDS researcher, argued at the Aspen Ideas Festival that “we can end the AIDS pandemic in the next 10 years.”

Dr. Futterman said she would like to see more focus on reaching young people 18 to 24 years old and young black and Hispanic gay and bisexual men, who she said are most at risk and who are the least likely to know whether they are infected. In New York, of an estimated 154,000 people infected with H.I.V., 22,000 do not know they have it, state officials said. Of the 132,000 who know they have it, 64,000 need treatment to suppress the virus.

To make H.I.V. drugs more affordable, the Cuomo administration said on Friday that it had secured agreements for bulk discounts from three major pharmaceutical companies — AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Gilead — which account for 70 percent of the H.I.V. market, and is negotiating with others as well.

Dr. Zucker said the state would also promote access to the Truvada pill, which when taken consistently can prevent people from becoming infected with H.I.V.

We continue to make incredible advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. But these advances are wasted if people don't get tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. If a person is infected with the virus, the sooner they see a doctor and get on treatment plan the better. When a person is aware of their HIV status and adheres to treatment, they are not only increasing their own chances of living a very long healthy life, they reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to another person.

Thank you to New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo for bringing attention to the HIV/AIDS crisis and taking action to end the epidemic in New York.

The NY Times has more on Gov. Cuomo's plan to end the AIDS epidemic in NY.