Jeff Foreman, Director of Policy
Governor Andrew Cuomo, marching in the New York City Pride Day event on Saturday, committed New York to “bending the curve”on HIV/AIDS policies in order to “end the AIDS epidemic” and assure that those living with HIV/AIDS remain healthy He announced a three point program to “decrease new HIV infections to the point where the number of people living with HIV in New York is reduced for the first time.”
The Governor’s plan, much of which has been advocated by Care for the Homeless, includes:
1. Identifying persons with HIV who remain undiagnosed and linking them to health care (as CFH does through rapid HIV testing, diagnosis and treatment, every day);
2. Linking and retaining persons diagnosed with HIV to health care and getting them on anti-HIV virus suppression so they remain healthy and prevent further transmission (CFH provides primary care to people living with HIV/AIDS and health education concerning HIV every day); and,
3. Providing access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for high-risk persons to keep them HIV negative.
“New York State has reached an important milestone in controlling the AIDS epidemic,” Governor Cuomo said, “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.”
Earlier this year, CFH and a strong statewide advocacy community won the fight to put a 30% rent cap on the portion of HIV patient’s income that can be charged for those housed in government housing programs like the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) housing system in New York City. That major victory assures housing stability for the first time to thousands of people living with HIV in New York. “That was a huge achievement,” according to CFH Executive Director Bobby Watts, “because housing really is healthcare, and it’s a real threat to anyone living with HIV to be unstably housed.”
The first report of AIDS occurred 33 years ago on July 3, 1981, with some of the earliest cases occurring in New York City. For most of those years, and continuing today, CFH has been on the forefront of fighting, diagnosing and treating HIV/AIDS among our city’s unstably housed.