For Immediate Release – 6/29/14
Statement by Jason Walker, HIV/AIDS Organizer at VOCAL-NY:
“We have the tools and know-how to end the AIDS epidemic in New York, the only question is whether we have the political will. Governor Cuomo’s bold pledge to end the epidemic in our state by the end of this decade could become a model for the rest of the country and the rest of the world. Even without a vaccine or cure, Cuomo understands that we can dramatically reduce new infections below epidemic levels and ensure all people living with HIV achieve optimal health.
A central goal of the governor’s plan will be increasing the number of New Yorkers living with HIV who have access to treatment and attain viral suppression, which is important for long-term health and reducing the risk of transmission. But we cannot achieve that goal without addressing the day-to-day needs of low-income people living with HIV, especially as the epidemic has become increasingly concentrated in poor communities. Thankfully, Governor Cuomo worked with Mayor de Blasio to enact a “30% rent cap” affordable housing protection for over 12,000 homeless and at-risk New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS earlier this year, along with reforms to improve access to HIV testing and linkage to care for those who have been diagnosed. We look forward to continuing to work with Governor Cuomo to ensure access to housing and other essential services for people living with and at-risk for HIV that will be fundamental to ending the epidemic in New York.”
Governor Cuomo is reportedly announcing a plan to end the AIDS epidemic in New York by 2020 during the annual Pride celebration in NYC on June 29th. AIDS activists, including VOCAL-NY and many of our allies, have been working with the Cuomo administration over the past year to develop a comprehensive, statewide plan informed by the latest science and community perspectives. On March 19th, former State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah previewed Governor Cuomo’s plan to end AIDS plan during a rally of hundreds of New Yorkers living with HIV in Albany when he announced progress in negotiations with drug companies to reduce the price of medicines and stated a specific commitment to dramatically reduce new HIV infections.
Contact: Jason Walker, (917) 200-1153, jason (at) vocal-ny.org