WEST VILLAGE — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced legislation over the weekend intended to work toward his goal of bringing the number of new HIV infections in New York below epidemic levels by the year 2020.
The multi-pronged approach aims to increase testing and access to treatment, including preventive drugs for those are are HIV negative but at risk of infection, and provide housing and supportive services for people with the virus.
"We will not relent until this horrific disease is nothing but a distant memory," Cuomo said in a statement.
There are currently 3,000 new HIV infections annually, health officials say, and Cuomo's plan aims to bring that number down to 750.
The legislation would:
► expand a 2014 statute that allowed for the sharing of HIV-related data with medical providers to include care coordinators and care management systems, in the hopes of connecting people to services and keeping them in treatment;
► require doctors to offer HIV testing to all adults regardless of age, removing the current upper limit of 64 years old, now that more than half of the New Yorkers living with HIV are 50 or older;
► enforce that minors can get HIV treatment confidentially and without parental consent, and allow them to get a preventive medication called PrEP if they're HIV-free but at risk of infection;
► allow registered nurses to do STD testing and making Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, a drug provided to people as soon as possible after they have been exposed to the virus, available through pharmacies.
The legislation still requires approval from the state legislature.