HIV Diagnoses in NYC Decline

In advance of World AIDS Day which will be marked on Dec. 1, New York City announced that new HIV diagnoses in 2017 dipped to a new low, with 2,157 cases diagnosed, a decline of 5.4 percent from 2016. Since New York State’s HIV diagnosis case reporting began in 2001, the number of new diagnoses made each year has dropped 64 percent.

Notably, health officials said, new HIV diagnoses among Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Black women fell 28 percent, 21 percent, and 8 percent, respectively, in 2017. Overall, new diagnoses for women, including cisgender and transgender women, decreased by 11.6 percent.

Among men, the improvements were smaller: New diagnoses among all men declined by 3.6 percent. And while new diagnoses and the HIV diagnosis rate among Black men decreased during this period, new diagnoses and the diagnosis rate increased among Latino/Hispanic men.

“Although we have seen declines in groups such as Black and Latina women, we must continue to address that men who have sex with men of color are disproportionately affected by HIV,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. In 2017, of all men newly diagnosed with HIV in New York City, 74 percent were MSM; of all new diagnoses among MSM, 73 percent were among Black or Latino MSM.

The city has set a goal of “Ending the Epidemic” of HIV by 2020, and city officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, said Thursday that the latest data, contained in the 2017 HIV Surveillance Annual Report, show that the city is on track. As part of its effort, the city has actively promoted prevention strategies (including pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis, known as PrEP and PEP).

The city also urges people to get tested, because receiving care early for HIV infections can bring viral loads down to undetectable levels and that, in turn, may reduce future transmission.

Among people receiving HIV medical care in New York City in 2017, 85 percent were virally suppressed, compared to 79 percent in 2013. The city highlights an evidence-based finding “Undetectable = Untransmittable,” that individuals with HIV who are taking antiretroviral medicines and maintain an undetectable viral load for at least six months do not sexually transmit HIV.

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