April 01, 2009

Gillibrand Releases Report Showing HIV/AIDS Still Devastating New York

New York City Epicenter of HIV/AIDS Epidemic - More Cases Than Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Miami Combined

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today released a new report showing the far reach of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York and announced steps she's taking to address prevention for the vulnerable and care for the infected.  The Office of Senator Gillibrand is hosting a Congressional briefing today entitled HIV Prevention in the United States in the Capitol Building.

"New York is the frontline for one of the worst epidemics in the history of humankind," Senator Gillibrand said.  "There has never been a greater sense of urgency to increase our commitment to fighting HIV and AIDS.  We need to make critical investments that emphasize early prevention and screenings, and provide access to affordable care to get a handle on this horrible disease."

More than 1 million Americans are living with HIV/AIDS - more than ever before.  A new HIV infection is found every 10 minutes in the U.S.

New York has the highest number of Americans living with and dying from HIV/AIDS, with New York City at the center of the epidemic.  New York City accounts for 15 percent of all new AIDS diagnoses, 14 percent of all new HIV diagnoses and 16 percent of total AIDS-related deaths in America.  The New York City extended metropolitan area has more newly diagnosed AIDS cases than Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Miami combined.  New York State as a whole accounts for 20 percent of all AIDS deaths in America.

To combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in New York, Senator Gillibrand is calling for full federal funding for the National AIDS Strategy to help coordinate efforts that focus on prevention for those most vulnerable to new infections and providing access to affordable treatment for those infected.  The Strategy calls for $1.4 million of federal funds over the next year.

To strengthen prevention and make treatment more affordable, Senator Gillibrand will co-sponsor the Early Treatment for HIV Act - legislation aimed at allowing states to provide critical care to low-income people living with HIV and addressing long waiting lists for access to life-saving medications.

The report indicates that:

  • Women and minorities are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS.
  • African Americans account for half of all new infections of HIV/AIDS in New York City.
  • Low-income communities are the most concentrated HIV/AIDS areas.
  • More than 20 percent of those infected with HIV/AIDS virus do not know it.

Senator Gillibrand is joining with AIDS Action, the AIDS Institute, Human Rights Campaign, National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, the National Coalition of STD Directors and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States to raise awareness about the epidemic, and develop solutions to help combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. 

A copy of the full report is attached.

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