Ending the Epidemic (ETE), a New York State governor’s office initiative to reduce the annual number of new HIV infections in the state of New York to just 750 (down from an estimated 3,000 cases) by 2020, appears to be just about on track to reaching its goal. Attaining this goal would signal a first ever decrease in HIV prevalence in the state.
The governor’s three-point plan, launched in 2014, aims to end the AIDS epidemic in New York State by identifying persons with HIV who remain undiagnosed and link them to health care, retain persons diagnosed with HIV in health care to maximize virus suppression so they remain healthy and prevent further transmission, and facilitate access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for persons who engage in high-risk behaviors to keep them HIV negative.
The ETE Dashboard, a web-based system to track data on infections and report progress on the ETE initiative, was developed by the Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health (ISPH) at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH), in collaboration with the New York State AIDS Institute, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Data Subcommittee of the New York State End the Epidemic Task Force. A December 2017 article published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research sheds light on the development of the ETE Dashboard as a critical tool for assessing the progress of the ETE initiative.
The latest data posted on the ETE Dashboard indicate there were an estimated 2,115 new HIV infections in New York in 2016, a 13% drop from the previous year, which almost hit the annual ETE target for the year set at 2,050. Other key metrics were nearly on target, or in the case of PrEP use among Medicaid recipients, surpassed the ETE goals, suggesting the initiative is making headway.
“While it is too soon to say definitively, taken together, these data may be an early indication that the ETE initiative is having an impact,” said Dr. Denis Nash, Professor of Epidemiology at CUNY SPH, and the Executive Director of ISPH.
The downward trend in incident infections is encouraging, but according to the ISPH, the trend needs to progress at a faster rate, at least a 23% decrease per year, in order to reach the ETE’s 2020 goal of reducing the number of new infections to 750.