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FOR NEW YORKERS LIVING WITH AND AFFECTED BY HIV AND AIDS, CUOMO’S SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN

Posted by Rebecca Edmondson , January 09, 2014

FOR NEW YORKERS LIVING WITH AND AFFECTED BY HIV AND AIDS, CUOMO’S SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN

Today, Governor Cuomo delivered his annual State of the State message where he outlined his administration’s goals for the upcoming year. The Governor proposed the creation and continuation of several initiatives to much applause. But it was the thunderous silence from the Governor about creating of an End of AIDS Taskforce for New York State thatleft many in New York’s HIV/AIDS community deeply disappointed.

For over a year, members of New York’s HIV/AIDS community have been meeting in an effort to seize the opportunity that currently exists to bring AIDS as an epidemic to an end here in New York State, And for the last six months, it has been the stalwart leadership of the New York State Department of Health’s AIDS Institute that has been galvanizing HIV/AIDS leaders, researchers, activists, people living with HIV/AIDS and government officials from all around the state to come together to begin the process of developing a comprehensive, state-wide strategic plan to not only drastically drive down the numbers of new infections by the year 2020, but to also fortify the infrastructure so that those living with HIV can live healthy lives.

New York State has been the epicenter and at the forefront of the AIDS pandemic since 1981. New York State also had remarkable success in greatly reducing the number of new HIV infections transmitted thought injection drug use and via mother-to-child transmission. Eleven new infections, however, are diagnosed each day and nearly one-third of new HIV cases are diagnosed concurrently with AIDS.

Leadership of the AIDS Institute as well as key members of the Governor’s own staff are keenly aware of the fact that right now New York stands at the crossroad of this challenge and that the time is now to choose to make a real difference by committing resources, institutions and political will to bring the AIDS epidemic to an end.

We call on Governor Cuomo to use the upcoming executive budget release as the platform to give his decisive and unwavering support to the creation of a New York State End of AIDS Taskforce that will, in collaboration with the AIDS Institute, be charged with developing a strategic blueprint for New York that will serve as a national model to end the epidemic.

If you would like to know more about the End of AIDS plan for New York State or if you would like to join the chorus of New Yorkers urging the Governor to commit ending AIDS here in New York, contact terri smith-caronia, Housing Works’ vice-president for New York Advocacy and Public Policy at smith-caronia@housingworks.org.

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