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Regional groups work to implement plan to end AIDS by 2020

World Bank Photo Collection

New York has set a goal to eliminate AIDS in the state by the year 2020. Communities throughout the state are coming together to work on ways to implement the plan. Public health organizations met in Rochester recently for one such meeting to come up with their regional plan.

In the early 1990s there were around 15,000 new cases of the disease each year. That’s now down to around 3,000 cases a year. By 2020, the state wants that number at 750 people or less.

Dr. William Valenti is the staff physician at Trillium Health, a health organization dedicated to AIDS prevention and treatment.

Valenti explains the three-part state plan: “Get people tested; so they know their HIV status. Get them into care. Keep them there. Treat them. And the third piece is preventing HIV in negative people who are at risk. And that involves one pill a day now.”

Charles King is the co-chairman of the New York State Ending the Epidemic Task Force. He says with work HIV/AIDS can go the way of polio.

“Here in the United States, we don’t even know what polio looks like. We don’t see it anymore. So, we actually did achieve that. The idea that we could do the same thing with HIV here in New York, here in the United States, and achieve that globally, it is amazing and it’s so exciting to be a part of it,” says King.

Increased efforts to prevent AIDS transmission will focus on high risk groups, including people living in poverty, women of color, and men who have sex with men.