New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has
announced a plan to end the AIDS epidemic in New York.
The plan aims to reduce the number of
new infections below epidemic levels in New York State by 2020.
Officials hope to reduced the number of
new HIV infections from the current 3,000 to about 750.
“Thirty years ago, New York was the
epicenter of the AIDS crisis,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We
are in a position to be the first state in the nation committed to
ending this epidemic.”
While a cure or vaccine remains
elusive, epidemiologists believe the AIDS epidemic can be ended
through current drugs, which also block transmission of the virus.
“If you aggressively seek out people
who are infected, get them into voluntary testing, care and
treatment, the mathematical model shows a sharp deflection in the
curve of people ultimately getting the infection,” Dr. Anthony S.
Fauci, a leading AIDS researcher, told The
New York Times. “Ultimately you can end the pandemic.”
The Cuomo administration said $5
million had already been set aside for the goal of universal
treatment. Officials said they would seek additional funds in the
next budget cycle.
The plan also includes promotion of
Gilead's drug Truvada, which has been shown to decrease the risk of
contracting HIV by 51 percent when taken consistently.