New HIV Diagnoses in 2018 Dropped 11% since the Prior Year and 28% since 2014
Almost 32,000 New Yorkers Took HIV-Prevention Medication Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis in 2018 - a 32% Increase from 2017
State Has Allocated an Annual $20 Million Supporting the Initiative since 2015
Governor Cuomo: "[W]e were the first state to turn the corner and set as a goal ending AIDS as an epidemic by 2020, and we are on target to reach that goal. ... New York leads the nation for the LGBTQ community and we are proud of it. ... We are going to win because at the end of the day love triumphs over hate every time and that is the New York way."
Earlier today, 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 delivered remarks earlier 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.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
PHOTOS of the event will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
Thank you very much. With your permission, Robbie and Kelsey, I'd like to receive this award in both my name and in the name of my father Mario Cuomo which I'll explain in a moment, and I'd like to ask my mother Matilda Cuomo to join us to receive this award.
Thank you, thank you all very much. I'm honored to receive this award and let me begin by first praising Kelsey Louie and GMHC. Let's give them a round of applause for all the good work that they do, and Hector Xtravaganza and the House of Xtravaganza and Joy Reid and Speaker Corey Johnson who's here and Brad Hoylman who's on his way and Alphonso David who is the head of HRC. Alphonso was my Counsel for many years. He couldn't keep up the pace so he "retired" to HRC but he's still my brother, Alphonso David.
To Robbie Kaplan who is my hero, she has fought these fights for many years and she wins, God bless Robbie Kaplan and Rachel Levine, a great Democratic activist, and their son Jacob.
And to all of you - thank you, thank you, thank you, for supporting GMHC. It is a great organization and it's great to see you here and organizations like GMHC really give me confidence and fill my heart because the truth is, as Robbie said, these are strange and difficult times. Nobody could have imagined that this would happen, that this state and this country, with all the remarkable progress that we have made over the past few years.
You now have a federal administration in Washington that is challenging fundamental beliefs and fundamental achievements that we have taken for granted. We celebrate diversity. We demand tolerance. These are core principles that we have made a reality and they are under attack. You have a federal government that is trying to take this country backwards - period. And what they are doing is even worse because they are metastasizing a cancer of fear and division through the body politic in this country. They are demonizing differences and they're trying to turn one American against another and they're trying to go exactly opposite everything we believe.
They believe that it is okay to discriminate based on sexual orientation. They want to give store owners the right to deny LGBTQ customers. They want transgender people out of the military and they want them out of their lives. They endorse anti-LGBTQ judges and they push them through the Senate at lightning speed.
If they had their way, they would want to put the LGBTQ community back in the closet. That's what they're really thinking. But as hard as they may try I promise you they are going to fail because there are places and there are people who know better because we will rise and we will resist and we will fight back and we are going to win and at the forefront of that crusade is the State of New York because that's what New York does. New York State, at her best, is the progressive leader for this nation. It always has been. The women's rights movement started right here in New York in Seneca Falls. The Civil Rights movement started here with the NAACP. The modern environmental movement started right here at Storm King. The labor rights movement started here after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The LGBTQ rights movement started right here at Stonewall. New York is the place that rises and resists first.
Larry Kramer began what became the modern LGBTQ movement in 1981 right here in Manhattan. Larry Kramer was the first activist to bring to attention the frightening and debilitating new disease, what they called at the time, gay cancer. And while the federal government stood paralyzed, and while other states were in denial, New York State was the progressive leader. As Robbie said, not just in words, but in action. New York State was the first responder to the AIDS crisis.
In 1983, Governor Mario Cuomo was the first governor in the nation to stand up and bring attention to the AIDS crisis. He was the first governor to start a needle exchange program. The first to demand confidentiality of health records. The first to initiate a states medical research on AIDS. And in 1983, Mario Cuomo gave the first state grant to GMHC. And working together, we have continued that legacy of leadership. Together we have done more in this state than any state in the nation - period. We passed GENDA. We passed the Gay and Trans Panic Defense. We banned conversion therapy. We appointed Paul Feinman to the Court of Appeals. The first openly gay judge to serve on New York's highest court. We were the first state to provide Medicaid coverage for hormone therapy and gender affirmation surgery. We prohibited private insurance plans from discriminating against transgender individuals. We funded the most innovative programs in the country - including suicide prevention and programs specifically designed for LGTBQ teens. We created a State Police Hate Crimes Task Force, which is combatting the alarming rise in hate crimes against the LGBTQ community. And we are providing more money and more housing to help people with HIV/AIDS than at any time in the history of the State of New York.
And we were the first state to turn the corner and set as a goal ending AIDS as an epidemic by 2020, and we are on target to reach that goal. Listen to this: We have increased the number of New Yorkers taking PrEP from 1,600 four years ago, to 32,000 today. And I am proud to announce that last year we saw a record decline in the number of HIV cases, more than double the decline from previous years over 11 percent, and at that rate we will end the AIDS epidemic by 2020.
And when we make our voice heard, our voice is heard nationwide, because New York can roar, and when New York roars it echoes from coast to coast. And as Robbie said, we changed this country's heart and soul when we passed marriage equality and proclaimed for all the world to hear that love is love, and love does not discriminate - period.
In short, New York leads the nation for the LGBTQ community and we are proud of it. And it honors my father's legacy and it honors Larry Kramer's legacy, and the legacy of the Stonewall Movement from day one. And we are going to continue that fight with more strength and more energy than ever before because the odds are higher than ever before. And it is literally a fight for the soul of this nation. And we are going to win that fight because we have great crusaders for justice like Robbie Kaplan, we have great advocates like Kelsey Louie, we have great officials like Corey Johnson, we have great organizations like the GMHC that is fighting for us every day, and because we have New Yorkers who refuse to go back to the dark days and are going to light the way forward. We are going to win because at the end of the day love triumphs over hate every time and that is the New York way.