Gov. Andrew Cuomo from New York State has announced on Sunday a new legislation that would achieve his goal of ending HIV/AIDS epidemic in the state.

The proposal involves several initiatives aimed to address the epidemic, which will be building on steps already taken by the New York State leader in providing treatment and support services to those infected, according to the governor’s office in a press release.

Cuomo announces new legislation to stop AIDS in New York State
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new legislation to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the state. Credit:

“New York State is leading by example in the fight against AIDS and the initiatives in this legislation are key to building on the progress we have already made,” Gov. Cuomo said. “By increasing access to testing and breaking down barriers to treatment, New York has taken a holistic approach to ending the AIDS epidemic. We will not relent until this horrific disease is nothing but a distant memory,” he added.

The legislation would increase the number of people linked and remain in care by allowing HIV-related information to be shared with care coordinators and care managers. This data-sharing allows a better understanding of the epidemic in the state, will improve patient outcomes and prevent new infections, according to the statement.

Other measure announced was streamline HIV testing efforts and extend the upper age limit of New York State HIV testing law, which is currently at the age of 64, when half of the infected are 50 or older. With this, more people will learn their status and protect their own health as well as their partner’s.

In addition, the bill also establishes that minors have the right to obtain life-saving HIV treatment and preventive services without parental consent and ensure the confidentiality of such care. Although minors can be tested and get treatment for STDs without parental consent, for HIV treatment is not the case.

An ambitious goal

The latest efforts to increase access to testing and treatment in order to reduce the number of HIV infection are part of a plan to reduce the yearly infected estimate from 3,000 to just 720 by 2020. According to the governor’s office, some of the efforts have had already an impact since for the first time there were no cases of HIV transmission from mother to child for more than 17 months.

The economic resources have helped identify more than 6,000 HIV-positive patients who were not receiving care and will be an important risk to further spread the virus among the not-infected population.

Source: New York State