The New York City’s Department of Health released their 2018 HIV Surveillance Annual Report this Friday, proudly noting that for the first time ever, the number of documented diagnoses of HIV was under 2,000, a 67% drop from 2001.
According to their press release, new diagnoses are also down in almost every demographic, except for transgender people, and men who have sex with men (MSM) and use needles.
“New York City can end the epidemic if we continue to fight against the stigma, bias and discrimination that continue to be significant drivers of HIV, particularly among Black and Latino men who have sex with men,” remarked Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.
The Department of Health credits the community and government working together “to prioritize science over stigma and sex-positivity over shame” for this news. They also cite Bill de Blasio’s 2015 Ending the Epidemic Plan as a major contributor to prevention and public awareness, as well as the city’s “U=U” campaign, which informs the public about those with HIV who cannot transmit the virus, or undetectable (hence “undetectable vs. untransmittable”). The Department of Health estimates 87% of those who contracted the virus are undetectable or ‘suppressing’ the virus.
Additionally, the development and release of the HIV prevention drugs PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), both of which can prevent transmission of the disease either before or after exposure to the virus.