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HIV diagnoses in New York City are at their lowest since records began

Patrick Kelleher November 29, 2019
HIV diagnoses in New York City are at their lowest since records began

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Less than 2,000 people in New York City were diagnosed with HIV last year, making it the lowest number of diagnoses since records started in 2001.

Data released in the 2018 HIV Surveillance Annual Report showed that 1,917 people in the city received a HIV diagnosis in 2018, down 11 per cent from the previous year. By comparison, 5,859 people were diagnosed with the virus in 2001.

HIV rates dropped among most groups, including men and women, black, latino, white, Asian and Native American populations. Furthermore, 87 per cent of those receiving medical care for HIV were virally suppressed, which improves their health and means they cannot pass it on.

However, there was an increase in the number of trans people contracting the virus in 2018, as well as those aged between 50-59 and men who have sex with men and also inject drugs.

Fight to end HIV is not yet over for New York – but huge progress has been made.

“The historic decline in the number of new HIV diagnoses marks another milestone in our decades-long fight against the epidemic in New York City,” said deputy mayor for health and human services Dr Raul Perea-Henze.

“This progress is the result of government working in partnership with all communities to improve access to prevention and treatment, as called for in the innovative approach of the de Blasio administration.

The historic decline in the number of new HIV diagnoses marks another milestone in our decades-long fight against the epidemic in New York City.

He continued: “While we have come a long way, and stand within sight of our goal to end the epidemic by 2020, we must continue to accelerate our efforts to reach and empower all New Yorkers affected by HIV, in honour of those we have lost and those who continue to fight every day.”

More than 100,000 New Yorkers have died due to the virus.

Meanwhile, Senator Bard Hoylman noted that more than 100,000 New Yorkers have died because of HIV/AIDS – and said they now hope to “end this epidemic once and for all”.

“It’s so exciting to see New York City’s policies making a difference, with new HIV diagnoses in 2018 down by 67 percent since 2001. There’s more work to do to finally end this epidemic, which is why I’m proud to carry legislation in the New York State Senate that requires insurers to cover PrEP and PEP, medications that are proven to reduce the likelihood of infection.”

Medical research into the virus has made huge strides and has helped change the lives of those with the virus. When effective antiretroviral therapy is taken, people with HIV can have an undetectable viral load, meaning they cannot pass the virus on. Furthermore, preventative medication PrEP, when taken daily, stops people from contracting the virus through condomless sex.

More: AIDS, HIV, New York, PrEP

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