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New York Vows to End AIDS Epidemic by 2020

by Winnie McCroy

EDGE Editor

Wednesday November 26, 2014

On World AIDS Day, December 1, the New York City World AIDS Day Coalition will host a community launch of the Governor's Ending the Epidemic Campaign, a state plan to end AIDS in New York by the year 2020. The launch will take place at Harlem's World Famous Apollo Theater and provide an opportunity for the general public to learn more about the campaign and how New Yorkers can help.

The New York City World AIDS Day Coalition consists of over 40 AIDS-service and community-based organizations, medical providers, the NYC Council Speaker's Office and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Attending the event will be community leaders, people living with HIV & AIDS, celebrities and elected and city officials including: Mayor Bill de Blasio; Senators Brad Hoylman, Daniel Squadron, and Gustavo Rivera; Assembly Members Richard Gottfried and Daniel O'Donnell; Council Members Corey Johnson, Danny Dromm, and Annabel Palma; Comptroller Scott Stringer; Public Advocate Letitia James; Health Commissioner Mary Bassett and Assistant Commissioner Demetre Daskalakis

On October 14, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced members of a Task Force that will work to implement the plan to end the AIDS epidemic in New York. The Ending the Epidemic Task Force - whose work will be supplemented by two advisory groups in the near future - will support the effort to reduce the number of new HIV infections to 750 per year by 2020. Together, all three groups will consist of experts and community advocates from across New York and will perform public outreach and awareness campaigns in line with the Governor's plan.

Three key groups have been charged with ending the epidemic. The first is a Task Force, which has been established in support of Governor Cuomo's three-point plan and will develop and issue recommendations as well as draft New York's blueprint to end the epidemic. Four subcommittees will focus specifically on prevention, care, data, and housing and supportive services. The second is the Public Official Advisory Group, which will be made up of state and local public officials with significant interest and experience in HIV and AIDS who will be given the opportunity to provide feedback to the task force; and the third is the Public Awareness Ambassadors, active LGBT and AIDS awareness advocates that will help raise awareness, promote the Governor's plan, and reduce the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.

The end of the AIDS epidemic in New York will occur when the total number of new HIV infections has fallen below the number of HIV-related deaths. In June, Governor Cuomo announced a three-point plan to decrease new HIV infections to the point where the number of people living with HIV in New York State is reduced for the first time by identifying people with HIV who remain undiagnosed and linking them to health care; linking and retaining people diagnosed with HIV to health care and getting them on anti-HIV therapy to maximize HIV virus suppression so they remain healthy and prevent further transmission; and providing access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for high-risk people to keep them HIV negative.

End AIDS NY 2020 will be held from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 1 at Harlem's World Famous Apollo Theater, 253 W. 125th St. in New York City. To RSVP, visit

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.