June 30, 2014
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – "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,” said Governor Cuomo.
“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.”
The first report of AIDS occurred 33 years ago on Thursday, July 3, 1981, with some of the first AIDS cases occurring in New York. The momentum to bring the HIV/AIDS epidemic to a close already exists in New York State. New York has eliminated HIV transmission via blood products; virtually ended mother to child HIV transmission; and decreased new HIV diagnoses due to injection drug use by 96% since the mid-1990s.
While the nation as a whole has seen no decrease in the number of HIV diagnoses, over the last decade, New York State has achieved a 40 percent reduction in new HIV cases and significant decreases in HIV incidence across all categories of race, ethnicity, gender, age, and risk. Although the number of new HIV infections has been declining for a number of years, the total number of New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS has continued to increase. This is because people with HIV can now live a normal life span and the number of HIV/AIDS deaths is also decreasing.
In 2014, there were 3,000 newly diagnosed HIV infections, down from 14,000 newly diagnosed AIDS cases in 1993. The goal is to reduce the number of new HIV infections to just 750 by 2020; about the same as the number of tuberculosis cases in New York State each year.
The New York State three-point plan to “bend the curve” and decrease new HIV infections is being implemented. The end of the AIDS epidemic in New York will occur when the total number of new HIV infections has fallen below the number of HIV-related deaths. While the effort will result in increased HIV medication expenses, over time the initiative will pay for itself. Each averted HIV infection saves almost $400,000 in lifetime medical costs, and by 2020, “Bending the Curve” will save the State an additional $317 million and prevent more than 3,400 new cases of HIV.