AIDS Initiative Is A Worthwhile Plan

It isn’t often we agree with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but his plan to end the AIDS epidemic in New York state is one we can all get behind.

Cuomo recently announced his “Bending the Curve” initiative, a three-point plan that includes identifying people with HIV who remain undiagnosed and linking them to health care; linking and retaining those with HIV to health care and getting them anti-HIV therapy to maximize HIV virus suppression so they remain healthy and prevent further transmission; and provide access to PreExposure Prophylaxis to keep high-risk people HIV negative.

According to the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County’s 2013 Community Status Report, Chautauqua County already has a new HIV AIDS case rate at six cases per 100,000 people lower than the state average of 21.6 per 100,000 when the report was written. The report also states there were roughly 250 people in Chautauqua County living with HIV or AIDS, or about 0.18 percent of the county’s population. That shouldn’t be taken to mean Chautauqua County has nothing to gain from Cuomo’s initiative. Conversely, it has the most to gain by being one of the first counties to eliminate HIV and AIDS.

New York was at the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. Chautauqua County was at the forefront of its own AIDS maelstrom in the late 1990s in the wake of the Nushawn Williams’ court cases. AIDS is a terrible disease. Ending its reign of terror in New York is a worthy vision for the state to have.