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Amida Care Commends Governor Cuomo’s Plan to End Aids in New York

June 29, 2014

On June 29, 2014, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a three-point plan to end the AIDS epidemic in New York State by 2020. Amida Care applauds this action, which will implement bold measures to identify, treat and retain persons with HIV in appropriate care. This includes improving access to life-saving antiretroviral therapies, as well as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for people at high-risk of HIV exposure.

By committing to this worthy endeavor, New York State will continue to serve as a national model for ending the AIDS epidemic. Over the last decade, New York State has achieved a 40% decrease in new HIV cases, which is unprecedented nationwide. The plan envisions reducing the rate of annual HIV infections to the point where by 2020 the number of persons living with HIV in New York State will decrease for the first time.

In addition to being a humane endeavor, this plan makes fiscal sense. For every infection prevented, the State will save about $400,000 in life-time medical costs. Amida Care salutes our advocacy partners for encouraging the plan’s fruition. We also applaud the State and pharmaceutical companies for effectively negotiating cost reductions on HIV medications, making treatment more available to people receiving care in the Medicaid program. This will certainly advance the plan’s success.

While a majority of people living with HIV and receiving appropriate care have undetectable viral loads, a significant minority do not. For them, treatment is more than just taking a pill every day. Vigorous adherence supports will be required for at least 20% of the infected population so that they too can achieve undetectable viral loads. Being undetectable has been shown to reduce one’s ability to pass the virus on to another and is also the key to a longer, healthier life.

Additional coverage of Governor Cuomo’s historic announcement was published in the New York Times on Sunday, June 29, 2014.