Report: HIV Diagnoses Reach Record Low In New York City

November 29, 2018 - 4:44 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The number of new HIV cases in New York City fell to a record low in 2017, according to a Daily News report.

Cub Barrett, vice president of public affairs at the Gay Men’s Heath Crisis, told WCBS 880 that the numbers are dropping for a number of reasons.

“I think there's more education about prevention campaigns and there's something also called PrEP, which is pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is a pill people can take – who are HIV negative – they take it every day and they stay negative,” Barrett said. “It's been proven effective, so that's been a tremendous boom in keeping new infections down across the city.”

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene tells the Daily News that 2,157 people were diagnosed with HIV in 2017, down 5.4 percent from 2016.

There’s been a 64 percent decline in HIV cases since the city began recording diagnoses in 2001, when 5,900 people were newly diagnosed.

“People who are living with HIV, or are HIV positive, if they have access to good healthcare and good medication and take it regularly, as they should, after about six months of doing that they have what's called undetectable viral load, which means that they're not actually able to pass the virus on to their partners,” Barrett also explained.

When asked if the news of lower infections could cause a false sense of security, Barrett explained that continuing education about the virus is vital in preventing another outbreak.

“GMHC and the New York City Department of Health are keeping up the education campaigns in places where people can see it who are most at risk,” he notes.

New York State has set a goal of getting new HIV infections to below 750 by 2020, and experts told the Daily News, that figure is quite possible.

Though, health officials claim it’s not a bad thing that the city is diagnosing people with HIV because it means those individuals are being tested.

The figures were announced just days before World AIDS Day, during which New York City will hold a number of events to commemorate those lost to the AIDS epidemic and hold seminars to educate the public on the HIV and AIDS virus.

According to Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump will also soon sign legislation to extend an HIV-AIDS program that has helped millions, primarily in Africa.

Additionally, the Trump administration will provide $100 million dollars to faith-based organizations which are working to fight HIV and AIDS.