New York Governor Andrew Cuomo used Gay Pride to announce an aggressive proposal to reduce HIV infections in the Empire State.
Called Bending the Curve, the project is meant to decrease new HIV infections so the number of recently developed infections is below the figure of HIV-related deaths.
‘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,’ the governor said in a statement.
‘New York State has reached an important milestone in controlling the AIDS epidemic, and through this comprehensive strategy, we are decreasing new HIV infections to the point where by 2020, the number of persons living with HIV in New York State will be reduced for the first time,’ Cuomo continued.
The proposition has three parts: 1) identifying those with HIV who are still undiagnosed and connecting them with healthcare, 2) making certain those who are diagnosed have access to anti-HIV therapy, and 3) ‘providing access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for high-risk persons to keep them HIV negative.’
According to the governor’s statement to pay for the expensive medication the New York State Department of Health Medicaid Program ‘has successfully negotiated supplemental rebates with the three pharmaceutical companies representing 70% of the HIV market, AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Gilead.’
Leaders of AIDS/HIV organizations praised the new tactic.
‘Governor Cuomo’s announcement to create a plan to end AIDS demonstrates the leadership and political will needed to end the epidemic as we know it in New York State,’ Harlem United CEO Steven C. Bussey said in a statement.
‘The plan to end AIDS can hopefully result in a dramatic decrease in new infections among MSMs [men who have sex with men] and transgender women, especially within the low income communities of color, some of our hardest hit populations,’ Gay Men’s Health Crisis CEO Kelsey Louie said.