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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced new data showing 2018 had the largest decrease in new HIV diagnoses in New York since the launch of the Ending the Epidemic initiative in 2014 and that the Empire State is on track to end the AIDS epidemic by the end of 2020. New diagnoses for last year reached an all-time low of 2,481 - an 11 percent drop from 2017 and a 28 percent drop since 2014. By comparison, diagnoses decreased by 3.9 percent from 2016 to 2017. The Governor, who is delivering remarks today at the Gay Men's Health Crisis Fall Gala, also announced new data showing almost 32,000 New Yorkers took Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, in 2018 - an increase of 32 percent from 2017. Facilitating access to PrEP, which reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99 percent, is a key pillar of the Governor's plan to end AIDS.

"Five years ago we launched an aggressive, nation-leading campaign to end the AIDS epidemic in New York and to ensure every person living with HIV or AIDS gets the support they need to lead a full and healthy life," Cuomo said. "This new data shows we are on track to meet that goal and continue our historic progress to finally bend the curve on an epidemic that has taken too many lives for too long."

The Governor's Ending the Epidemic initiative was launched in 2014 to significantly reduce HIV infections by the end of 2020 and achieve the first-ever decrease in HIV prevalence. The initiative features a three-point plan, which includes identifying people with HIV who remain undiagnosed and linking them to healthcare; linking and retaining people diagnosed with HIV to healthcare and getting them on treatment to maximize HIV virus suppression; and providing access to PrEP for high-risk persons to keep them HIV negative. Cuomo has led the charge to ensure PrEP is affordable for all New Yorkers by requiring health insurance plans to cover the medication without co-pays.

The State has allocated an annual $20 million since 2015 to support the work of the initiative and has spent an estimated $2.2 billion to increase access to care and treatment for HIV. This year, the State awarded $5.6 million over five years for transgender healthcare services, including increased access to HIV services and gender-affirming healthcare for transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary (TGNC) individuals.

Additionally, New York is the first state in the nation to declare October 20-26 PrEP Awareness Week to highlight that medication is available to safely and effectively prevent HIV, with $175,000 in funding. The Governor led the charge to ensure PrEP is affordable for all New Yorkers by requiring health insurance plans to cover PrEP without co-pays beginning January 1, 2020, ensuring a network of healthcare providers are available to prescribe PrEP, and making education and support services available to link people to this life-saving preventive service. The number of persons accessing PrEP in New York State continues to increase significantly, and New York leads the nation in the number of people who use PrEP. Nearly 32,000 New Yorkers filled at least one prescription in 2018, which is a 32 percent increase from 2017. In 2014, 3,388 individuals filled at least one prescription.

New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "New York State is making significant advances to reach our goal by the end of 2020. Creating a PrEP Awareness Week will educate all New Yorkers that PrEP is an important HIV prevention option."

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