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Cuomo and de Blasio Vow to End HIV/AIDS Epidemic

By Jeff Mays | December 1, 2015 6:15pm
 Both the city and the state announced plans Tuesday to spend millions of dollars to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2020.
Cuomo and de Blasio Vow to End HIV/AIDS Epidemic
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HARLEM — Both the city and the state announced plans Tuesday to spend millions of dollars to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2020.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will propose that the state spend an additional $200 million to expand affordable housing for people living with HIV/AIDS, provide life insurance for people between the ages of 30 and 60 with HIV and spend more on health coverage and STD clinics in New York City.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will spend $23 million to provide more services for 200,000 individuals, including providing medicine at the early onset of HIV and medicines designed to prevent infection.

The city has also committed to providing HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) which includes help with housing, nutrition and transportation, for all eligible New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS, an increase of 7,300 clients by 2020.

Both men — still engaged in a long-running feud — spoke separately at a World AIDS Day event at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Neither mentioned the efforts of the other in their remarks.

"The goal is to end the epidemic and that’s why New York was the first state to give it a date — a target date — 2020 as the date to end the AIDS epidemic and end it once and for all," Cuomo said.

Both the city and the state have had good news recently in dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. New York State has had no reports of mother-to-newborn HIV transmission since August 2014.

In New York City, 2,718 residents were diagnosed with HIV in 2014, the lowest number since the epidemic started and a 35 percent drop from 2004.

"Today, in this country, 1.2 million people living with HIV, nearly a tenth of them here in our city. That means almost 120,000 New York City residents. And that represents about 80 percent of all those with HIV in the State of New York," de Blasio said. "So, we’re the frontline. We’re the frontline, and we have to make the impact here."

The state goal for ending the epidemic means keeping new infections below 750 per year across the state.

HIV/AIDS advocacy groups praised the plans.

“These resources will provide us with an unprecedented opportunity to make the vision to end AIDS in New York State a reality,” Harlem United CEO  Jacquelyn Kilmer said in a statement where she called Cuomo's goal of increasing funding by $200 million "nothing short of remarkable."

Cuomo received the World AIDS Day Leadership Award and also announced a $500,000 commitment to fund the New York City AIDS Memorial at West 12th Street and Greenwich Avenue.

Charles King, president and CEO of Housing Works, said de Blasio and the city had made a "a historic commitment" that was "unmatched by any prior mayor.”

Gay Men's Health Crisis CEO Kelsey Louie said he was impressed by both the city and state effort.

"To have all levels of government taking part in supporting Gov. Cuomo’s plan to end AIDS by 2020, New York elected officials are a shining example of how government leadership is essential to finally ending the epidemic," Louie said in a statement.