Sample blood collection tube with HIV test label on HIV infection screening test form. (Photo credit: Room’s Studio)

New York City has been on the vanguard of HIV prevention and education for the past several decades. In 2015, the number of new HIV diagnoses was 2,493 and there were approximately 108,648 people living with HIV that year. Now officials at the New York City Department of Health are stating that there were 2,279 new diagnoses of HIV recorded in 2016. This figure represents a 9 percent drop from the numbers in 2015 and the reason according to officials is the use of HIV preventive drugs known as PrEP which increased by 1,000 percent.

PrEP is an acronym for “pre-exposure prophylaxis,” the practice of using antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV infection. Drugs such as Truvada prevent, with almost 99 percent efficacy, the transmission of HIV to sex partners when used as directed. Health officials in New York have stated that the largest set of decreased infections was among gay men which went from 1,450 new cases in 2015 to 1,236 cases in 2016. Unfortunately, the number of new HIV diagnoses among women increased during this same time period with 21 percent diagnoses among women of color. According to HIV/AIDS awareness group AIDSVu “42 percent of people newly diagnosed with HIV between 2011 and 2015 were Black, 34 percent Hispanic/Latino, and 16 percent White” which shows that communities of color are still at a greater risk.

But New York City Public Health Commissioner Dr. Demetre Daskalakis stated to Daily Mail Online, “I feel very optimistic and motivated by these new figures. … It’s exciting, especially considering that many of New York City’s innovative “Ending the Epidemic” programming only really got off the ground in late 2016! These 2016 numbers are a harbinger of good things to come as these new programs have more time to make an impact on HIV transmission.”

AIDSVu gives the following snapshot of HIV/AIDS in New York City:

Prevalence

  • Number of people living with diagnosed HIV in 2015: 108,648
  • 72 percent of people living with diagnosed HIV in 2015 were men, and 28 percent were women.
  • 44 percent of people living with diagnosed HIV in 2015 were Black, 34 percent Hispanic/Latino, and 18 percent White.

New Diagnoses

  • Number of new HIV diagnoses in 2015: 2,328
  • 79 percent of people newly diagnosed with HIV between 2011 and 2015 were men, and 21 percent were women.
  • 42 percent of people newly diagnosed with HIV between 2011 and 2015 were Black, 34 percent Hispanic/Latino, and 16 percent White.

Mortality

  • Number of deaths of people with diagnosed HIV in 2015: 1,327
  • Number of deaths of people with diagnosed HIV in New York State in 2014: 1,950
Mo Barnes

“Mo Betta”
Maurice “Mo” Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.