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World AIDS Day Observed

 

    December 1 is World AIDS Day, an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against AIDS; show their support for those living with HIV; and to remember those who have died.  ACR Health’s World AIDS Day event acted as a springboard to release compelling evidence that the incurable and deadly disease can be contained.
AIDS was first recognized as a disease in 1981.  In the 35 years since:
•    202,341 New Yorkers have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
•    123,348 of them have died; and
•    An estimated 123,100 individuals with HIV/AIDS are presently living in New York.
•    In ACR Health’s nine-county service area, 3,681 people are living with HIV/AIDS.
New York State leads the nation in the number of people living with diagnosed HIV/AIDS.  Approximately 18% of AIDS diagnoses in the US have occurred in NYS.
New York and California were the epicenter of the outbreak in the early 1980’s.  “New York took aggressive action in helping those with AIDS and preventing the spread of HIV,” said ACR Health Executive Director, Wil Murtaugh.  “By 1983, every county in the state had an agency to address the AIDS crisis.”  In nine counties in the Central, Northern, and Mohawk Valley regions, that agency has been ACR Health.  
In 2014, New York announced that it would “End AIDS by 2020,” by reducing the annual HIV infection count to 750 statewide.  Indications of progress are: 
•    In 1997, 99 babies were born with HIV
•    In 2015, no babies were born with HIV
•    At the height of AIDS, NY had 14,000 new HIV cases each year 
•    In 2007, there were 4,211 new HIV cases
•    In 2014, there were fewer than 2,500
•    Between 2006 and 2014, the HIV infections dropped by 41%

There are three important steps to ending AIDS: Identifying persons with HIV who remain undiagnosed and linking them to health care; getting them on anti-viral medication to suppress HIV; and providing access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for those at high risk.
    “PrEP is the game changer,” said Murtaugh.  “We now have a daily pill that prevents HIV transmission.  It’s 99% effective and it’s the real key to ending the epidemic.”
ACR Health commemorated World AIDS Day, Thursday, December 1, 2016 with a morning service of Hope and Remembrance at Panasci Chapel at LeMoyne College in Syracuse.  
Staff and volunteers at ACR Health have been in the fight against HIV/AIDS for the past 34 years.  New York’s goal to End the AIDS Epidemic by 2020 renews and inspires us and we are “all in” to #endAIDS.