On Dec.1, which was declared the World AIDS Day, the Big Apple unveiled a series of steps to fight the dreadful disease. With the recent announcement of Gov Cuomo to eradicate the epidemic in the state by the end of the decade, New York City is on the fast track to end HIV/AIDS by 2020.
The city was also the host of the largest event dedicated to the World AIDS Day in the state. More than 1,400 people were invited to the free event, which was sponsored by NYC’s health department and the End AIDS NY 2020 Coalition.
The event’s main goal was to raise AIDS awareness among community members and persuade them to undergo tests for an early diagnosis without the fear of being shamed. Officials also plan to locate people that live with the infection and prevent them from further spreading it. Additionally, people with a high risk of infection was also targeted by the campaign, which plans to provide them with treatments piece of advice that shield them from contracting the disease.
LGBT groups, HIV organizations, health officials and advocacy groups hailed the governor’s plans to say goodbye to the epidemic by 2020. The Latino Commission on AIDS viewed Cuomo’s initiative as a ‘historic’ move designed to save the lives of thousands of NYC residents and inspire other states in their battle against AIDS.
The group also pledged to engage Latino communities and provide support in both English and Spanish. The Latino Commission added that it would also help state officials end the epidemic according to the governor’s plan.
Doug Wirth, head of Amida Care, a group that advocates for HIV patients’ rights, welcomed the governor’s initiative and pledged to offer its full support in the endeavor. Wirth was pleased that under the new initiative New Yorkers would be granted life-saving drugs and access to resources to help them stay safe from the disease.
Wirth also announced that his organization has a considerable experience in fighting the illness with outstanding results: three-quarters of its HIV positive members are now out of harm’s way.
The NYC health department and HIV groups plan to reduce rate of infections to 750 cases every year from 3,000 today. According to official reports, the state has 133,000 residents that were diagnosed with the disease. In June, New York City reported 118,307 cases.
Cuomo recently pledged to raise the funding required by HIV/AIDS patients to cover their health care and housing costs by $200 million. The New York State already spends $2.5 billion on a yearly basis on such costs.
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