This December 1 commemorates the World AIDS Day, under the motto “Put an end to inequalities. End AIDS. End pandemics“. And although the City’s health authorities reveal that infections in the Big Apple continue to decrease, according to their most recent report, which dates from 2019, one of the big complaints is precisely that the current real state of the disease is unknown. the problem of HIV.
Compared to the early years preceded June 5, 2021, when the first official report on the first cases of the so-called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was presented, infections and deaths have dropped considerably: in 2019 there were a total of 1,772 New Yorkers diagnosed with the virus, (that is, 70% less than in 2001). It is estimated that around 140,000 Hispanics have died of AIDS andn the United States since the disease became known 40 years ago.
So far the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) has not released any reports on AIDS in the five counties between 2020 and 2021, a period in which it is feared that the COVID pandemic could wreak havoc on some of the progress that has been made.
So he assures Guillermo Chacon, president of the organization Latino Commision on Aids of New York, who mentioned that as a first step to continue the fight against AIDS with a clearer focus, it is urgent that current data be presented to measure the situation in order to plan necessary actions.
“We have had more than a very complicated year and unfortunately when we talk about collecting data on the impact of AIDS in New York, we see that the City is almost two years behind, but we know that the Latino community is the second most affected, so The first thing we ask the City, the State and the federal government is to tell us if in the middle of the pandemic they decreased HIV testing“, Assured the activist. “We need to know if there was a decrease in cases or increases, in the midst of the pandemic hurricane, since CDC data show an increase among the Latino gay bisexual community, which has been the most affected.”
Chacon, who this Wednesday will be at the White House at the event that Biden Administration will offer to commemorate World AIDS Day He also said that it is urgent to address the problem, which continues to disproportionately affect Hispanics, from different sides and not only as a medical matter, since he assured that of 14 New York institutions that received federal funds, this year only 7 were assigned, mostly hospitals, and only 2 community organizations.
“What we have been asking for is that if funds are given to medical institutions and no significant positive changes are seen against AIDS, it is necessary to reevaluate who should be given those funds,” said the community leader, noting that his organization did not receive this year the $ 700,000 annually than the federal government he had been giving him to promote his aid programs. “This year the motto is for equity and the voices of everyone, but the voices that should be most present are those of people living with HIV and those of the organizations that work with them, and they are excluding us.”
Chacon, Who explained that the allocation of resources this year was part of the Trump Administration, said that part of his visit to Washington will be to advocate for the creation of a complex strategy on the fight against AIDS.
“We need everyone together to defeat HIV, which is a manageable chronic disease, which currently has incredible treatments, but it is urgent that resources be allocated to community organizations and work on the social part, the housing part, and the mental health part. It cannot be only with hospitals and it is urgent to end the stigma, ”said Chacón. “The coronavirus came to bare more the sad reality of the profound health disparities, including HIV, from a system totally divorced and far from our communities, and that is one of the many issues that the next Mayor has to resolve ”.
Jonah Matthew, 37-year-old Mexican, who was diagnosed with HIV seven years ago, assures that the pandemic exacerbated fears and traumas and lack of aid, and called for more work to be done against the stigma of the disease and to follow up people with the viruses to ensure their well-being.
“I feel like many of us were left alone. Already being undocumented here, Latino, poor and with HIV, is seen by many as if we smell ugly. I admit that there are organizations that help, but I believe that in financial, mental and social programs and supports, they are leaving us in the queue in this pandemic, “he said.
The Ombudsman, Jumaane Williams, also agreed that there is still more to do to eradicate AIDS and help those living with HIV, and called for more resources.
“There is more work ahead to expand access to pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis, provide high-quality care for those who test positive, increase City funding for initiatives to end the epidemic, and improve sex education in the public schools, ”said the Ombudsman. “Addressing the disparity faced by the Latino community in diagnoses is also crucial by expanding the city’s network of community health centers, rapid testing options, and the screening and testing program.”
On the other hand, Williams recognized that although HIV continues to be a major public health crisis for the City and the State, on this World AIDS Day noteworthy substantial achievements since last year, which have had a positive impact on preventing infections.
“I asked the City to implement safe injection sites, and on Tuesday the Mayor announced that they will finally open two in Manhattan. I also asked the State to pass legislation that would decriminalize the possession of hypodermic needles and syringes, which has now become law, ”said the official.
The City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who is a carrier of HIV, assured that the City has given clear signs of support in the fight that is taking place to end the epidemic.
“In this year’s budget, among other funds to combat the disease, the City Council designated more than $ 7.7 million for the End the Epidemic initiative, funds that support prevention, education and outreach services to decrease new HIV infections. We also allocated more than $ 2 million to help vulnerable populations connect with faith-based and community organizations, ”Johnson said. “It has been a long and hard battle, but I am sure that we will soon live in a world without AIDS. Sadly, we have lost more than 116,000 New Yorkers to the epidemic since the beginning of the crisis. I have lived with HIV since 2004 and I know the fear and anxiety that living with this disease can bring me.
The New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who highlighted that the sixth annual summit “Put an end to the epidemic (ETE)” in New York, will be held virtually from November 30 to December 2 to address the issue, was optimistic about the achievements made to defeat AIDS .
“Over the past four decades, New York State’s relentless efforts to educate people about HIV transmission and provide innovative strategies for access to treatment have resulted in a shift in the curve for new infections and diagnoses,” said the state leader. “This year’s ‘End the Epidemic Summit’ is a time to reflect on the progress we have made and the challenges we still face, and to reinvigorate our common goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2024.”
The commissioner Executive Deputy Kristin Proud of the New York State Department of Health, noted that amid new challenges, New York State “will continue to pursue its long-standing goals of making evil undetectable = untransmissible,” and ensuring that people receive the care they need. they need to live longer and healthier lives.
The State Senator Gustavo Rivera asked that each World AIDS Day serve as a “powerful reminder” of how far the State has come in the fight against the epidemic and applauded the development of policies that prevent new infections and improve the quality of life of those living with this disease. , “Especially in minority communities that continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV.”
The City Health Department He assured that in the coming days he will share more information about AIDS in the Big Apple, but did not reveal when exactly.
- Latest HIV Figures in New York City
- 1,772 people were diagnosed with HIV in NYC in 2019.
- 1,917 cases reported in 2018 in the Big Apple.
- 8% decrease in cases between 2018 and 2019.
- 2,377 new diagnoses statewide in 2019.
- 70% of those diagnosed in NYC in 2019 were gay men.
- 80% of those gay men were Latino and African American.
- 81% of all transgender men and men diagnosed in the past year were African American or Latino.
- 91% of all women and transgender women diagnosed in the past year were African American or Latina.
- 50% of all those diagnosed in the city in 2019 lived in high poverty areas.
- To find HIV help in NYC: Visit the page: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/aids-hiv.page
- You can also contact the Latino Commission on AIDS at this link: http://www.latinoaids.org/
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.