WEST VILLAGE — Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a long-awaited 37-point plan Wednesday to end AIDS in New York by 2020, and said he would dedicate $10 million in state funds over the next two years.
Cuomo's plan will cost more than $2.25 billion in Medicaid costs alone, according to the report, and doesn't included housing costs which are expected to cost as much if not more.
But according to the experts' analysis, if the entire plan was carried out, the state would ultimately save $6.8 billion in Medicaid costs.
The plan, developed by a task force of 63 experts impaneled by governor last year, proposes more than three dozen recommendations ranging from expanding Medicaid and providing affordable housing to passing legislation protecting the rights of transgender people and establishing new sex education curricula in New York schools.
The recommendations are expected to diminish the annual rate of new HIV infections in New York from approximately 3,000 — the number provided by the state for 2012 — to 750 by 2020, according to the governor. Additional proposals aim to eventually bring that number to zero.
"This is going to resonate all across the nation and this goal is going to be indisputable and you will feel it move like a wave from the east coast all the way across to the west coast, until every state stands up and every state says they are committed to ending the AIDs epidemic," Cuomo shouted to a crowd of AIDS activists outside the LGBT Center on 13th Street on Wednesday.
Cuomo and the other speakers led the crowd in chants of “Act up, fight back, end AIDS,” harkening back to a longtime slogan in AIDS activism used by groups including the decades-old advocacy organization ACT UP.
But members of ACT UP were there to protest Cuomo.
"We're one of the only groups that can protest this event because we don't get any money from the state," explained ACT UP volunteer Brandon Cuicchi, 38. “A lot of people are happy, but we still have a lot of questions and concerns about how he's going to implement it [with] a lot less [money] than what the task force recommended.”
The governor brushed off questions that the plan was underfunded.
"We'll find the funding to make it happen," Cuomo said.
The full blueprint is available online.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the co-author of the report. It is the Treatment Action Group.