In the Wall Street Journal's exclusive first look at NYC's decline in new HIV cases, Willett Public Affairs' SVP Matthew Lesieur explains the data behind the new figures as a longstanding expert in the HIV and health care arena.
New York City Sees Decline in Number of New HIV Cases
Officials are striving to end the HIV epidemic in New York by 2020
By Melanie Grayce West
Nov. 22, 2019 12:01 am ET
The number of new HIV diagnoses in New York City declined in 2018 to the lowest level since the city began reporting new cases in 2001, according to a report to be released Friday by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
State and city officials have set a goal to end the HIV epidemic in New York by 2020, which has led to millions being funneled into prevention services and health care.
Health officials say the number of new HIV diagnoses in the city was 1,917 in 2018, down from 2,157 in 2017.
Declines were seen in nearly all population groups. Of those receiving HIV care in 2018, 87% were virally suppressed through the use of medications. Overall, 84% of newly diagnosed people were linked to HIV care within a month of diagnosis, with 53% virally suppressed within three months, according to the report.
There was a slight increase in the number of new HIV diagnoses among transgender people, people ages 50 to 59 and men who report that they have sex with men and have a history of injection drug use, the report showed.
Matthew Lesieur, executive director of iHealth, a nonprofit coalition of community-based providers offering care-management services to people receiving Medicaid, said the city and state have worked hard to encourage people to use pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, in addition to condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV. “That’s why you are seeing a drastic reduction in new infections,” said Mr. Lesieur.