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The Campaign to End AIDS (C2EA) is a diverse, exciting coalition of people living with HIV & AIDS, their advocates and their loved ones. Together, we're demanding that our leaders exert the political will to stop the epidemic, in the U.S. and abroad, once and for all.

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For Immediate Release: October 14, 2014

The Housing Works community commends Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health for bringing the Governor’s previously announced plan to end AIDS as an epidemic in New York by 2020 a step closer to reality: Today, the Governor’s Office underscored its commitment to the 2020 end goal by announcing a multi-stakeholder end-AIDS Task Force to map out the details of the State Plan.

Housing Works President & CEO Charles King and NY DOH Office of Public Health Deputy Commissioner Guthrie Birkhead have been appointed as Task Force co-chairs. The rest of the Task Force is comprised of over 50 individuals representing organizations and groups from across the diverse spectrum of AIDS/HIV stakeholders in New York, including the Latino Commission on AIDS, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA), ACT UP NY, Treatment Action Group (TAG), the NYC Human Resources Administration (NYC HRA), NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH), and the New York Academy of Medicine. (A full list of the Task Force members can be found in the press release from the Governor’s Office here.)

The Task Force’s primary mandate will be to deliver a comprehensive plan with concrete recommendations to end the AIDS epidemic, including budgeting, benchmarks, and metrics, to DOH & the Governor’s Office by the end of January 2015, and most of its work will be accomplished via four subcommittees on prevention, care, data, and housing and supportive services. The first meeting of the Task Force is taking place today Tuesday, October 14, at the Troy Hilton Garden Inn from 11:00am to 5:00pm. Four subsequent Task Force meetings will follow through the end of the year, and the locations will alternate between the Capital Region and New York City. The meetings will be made public and are viewable via webcast at http://www.governor.ny.gov/. A series of Task Force-led community listening sessions will also be scheduled during the next few months.

Housing Works President & CEO Charles King stated, “I am grateful to the Governor and the Department of Health for their boldness and for the opportunity to be one voice among many crucial perspectives guiding the end-of-AIDS Task Force recommendations. For years, I have said that even without a vaccine or a cure, we have the tools to end AIDS as an epidemic right now. The primary missing component has been a lack of political will. With the convening of this Task Force, the State is taking the first step in making good on its promise to bring the full force of government and its resources to bear on ending AIDS. My hope is that this historic public commitment will inspire other jurisdictions around the U.S. and the globe to step forward with similar accelerated targets that will allow us to finally end the epidemic by 2030.”

The Task Force is the natural next step in recent state developments in the fight to end AIDS in New York: On June 29, 2014, coinciding with NYC Gay Pride, Governor Cuomo made history by committing New York State (NYS) to ending AIDS as an epidemic by 2020, even without a cure, by stopping deaths from HIV disease and eliminating new HIV infections. The declaration builds on recent scientific findings that early HIV treatment can reduce new transmissions of the virus by 96% and that two anti-HIV drugs given together, when taken daily as prevention, can reduce new infections by over 90% and was the result of over a year of community-led work and collaboration. Housing Works, Treatment Action Group (TAG), and other coalition stakeholders praised this bold announcement and then urged the State to appoint a high-level Task Force to develop the strategic roadmap and plan to get us there. Today’s announcement was an answer to that call. In doing so, NYS will save hundreds of thousands of lives and serve as a national and global model for ending the epidemic.

The Governor’s June announcement and now this newly convened Task Force infrastructure reflect a recognition that the landscapes of HIV and health care have changed: Although there are more New Yorkers living with HIV than in any other state in the nation, it is finally within our reach to end the epidemic that has plagued us for more than 30 years. New York has the people, institutions, resources, and tools needed to end AIDS as an epidemic by stopping new HIV infections and eliminating AIDS-related deaths. Political commitment and leadership are the necessary, final ingredients to make ending AIDS in NYS a reality.

Mika De Roo, Email: m.deroo@housingworks.org, Office: 347-473-7436; Cell: 347-585-6051
Carmelita Cruz, Email: c.cruz1@housingworks.org, Office: 518-729-2544