World AIDS Day 2022
World AIDS Day is a time to reflect on those we have lost, on those who have been impacted, and on those who bravely fought – and are still fighting – to get access to HIV treatment. It’s a time to reset, to ensure that those who are most impacted by HIV are being centered in conversations around treatment, prevention, and access to care. And it’s a time to renew our commitment to investing in health infrastructure to support the most vulnerable members of our communities.
As we continue to emerge from two other epidemics – COVID-19 and MPV – it’s especially important to redouble our efforts and not lose sight of our goals. From the latest surveillance data, new HIV diagnoses in New York City in 2021 are down 23% since 2017, and down 73% since 2001. However, new infections increased by 14% from 2020 to 2021. Much of this can be attributed to delayed testing and treatment due to restricted access, which underscores much of what we know – early testing and early treatment are key to reducing new transmissions and ensuring that people who are living with HIV have access to the treatment and care that they need.
At Callen-Lorde, we have been caring for people living with HIV and AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. Today, we are the largest non-hospital based HIV primary care center in New York. We have worked with our partners across the state to break down the barriers to routine HIV testing. We supported legislation prohibiting the use of condom possession to establish probable cause for arrest or prosecution for certain prostitution-related offenses. We led advocacy to ensure that young people could access PrEP and PEP without parental consent, and, in 2019, we again led advocacy to pass legislation that enables victims of sexual assault, who are minors, access a 28-day regimen of PEP without parental consent.
Today and each day, we recommit ourselves to the critical work of caring for those impacted by HIV while advocating for health justice for all those outside of our doors. Together, we can help end the epidemic.
“We must fix our hearts and minds
on a clear image of the day AIDS is no more;
make no mistake about it, that day will come.”
– Michael Callen (1955-1993)