FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KIMBERLEIGH J. SMITH, HARLEM UNITED 347.703.3865 KSMITH@HARLEMUNITED.ORG
MIKOLA DE ROO, HOUSING WORKS 347.585.605 M.DEROO@HOUSINGWORKS.ORG
END AIDS NY 2020 COALITION DEMANDS $10 MILLION FOR ENDING THE EPIDEMIC
City Hall, New York, NY—Representatives from the End AIDS NY 2020 Coalition, made up of 60 AIDS advocacy, service, and research organizations from around New York State will gather on the steps of City Hall on Thursday morning (6/18) to demand that Mayor de Blasio match New York State’s contribution of $10 million dollars towards the Ending the Epidemic Initiative, set forth by Governor Andrew Cuomo in April.
Cuomo released the New York Blueprint for Ending the AIDS Epidemic (ETE) on April 29th, after a Task Force of 63 experts and community leaders, including representatives of key City agencies created the plan and delivered it to him three months prior. The plan is comprised of 30 Blueprint recommendations that, if fully implemented, will decrease new HIV infections in New York State from approximately 3,000 per year to below 750 by the year 2020. In addition, the Blueprint contains seven Getting to Zero (GTZ) recommendations that, if implemented, will further reduce the number of new HIV infections to zero by the year 2020.
While the Governor’s leadership has been crucial to establishing the NY Plan to End AIDS, support from Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council is vital to the success of the plan, as 80% of all New Yorkers with HIV reside in New York City, and the majority of those are low-income people of color.
“The commitment of $10 million from New York City is essential for effective implementation of the Ending the Epidemic Blueprint,” said Sharen Duke, Executive Director of the AIDS Service Center NYC and member of the Governor’s Ending the Epidemic Task Force. “We are counting on Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council to make this crucial investment in our city, where communities of color are shouldering a disproportionate burden of the HIV epidemic.”
Advocates and providers are demanding that $10 million be made available for initiatives including enhancing and streamlining linkages to HIV prevention and care at NYC STD clinics, improving access pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (nPEP), extending affordable housing, and expanding vocational training opportunities for people living with HIV/AIDS.
“We are ready to deploy the best of what we know is effective and to scale up new interventions,” said Charles King, CEO for Housing Works and Community Co-Chair of the Task Force. “But that can’t happen without resources.”
“Women of color, including transgender women and young men of color, are continuing to see the highest rates of new infections in our communities. Commitment from Mayor de Blasio to match the State’s investment would ensure that these communities receive the required resources and interventions necessary to reverse this alarming trend,” said Ingrid Floyd, Executive Director of Iris House and Task Force member.
“New Yorkers living with HIV need support to remain on treatment and for us to reach the end of AIDS. We need to make sure that we continue to provide access to harm reduction services and housing, and we need to make sure that everyone, no matter what part of the City they are from or what drugs they use have full access to HIV treatment and prevention, including PrEP,” said Jennifer Flynn, Executive Director of VOCAL-NY and Task Force member.
New York City Council Members are in budget negotiations this week and next. The City charter mandates that budget agreement is reached by the end of June, which will mark the one-year anniversary of Governor Cuomo’s historic announcement.