A new report published by the Department of Health reveals 2016 to be the year with the lowest amount of new HIV diagnoses in New York City history, an 8.6% decrease in new infections as opposed to the year before.
2016 saw 2,279 new cases of the virus in the city. In 2001, when the Health Department began tracking HIV statistics, they logged 5,906 new infections.
The decline is due in large part, scientists say, to the spread of the preventative drug PrEP. The study found that by the end of 2016 30% of men having sex with men were taking the drug, available for low to no cost through any of the city's 8 health clinics.
“The technology has landed, and implementation is moving quickly,” said Deputy Commissioner for Disease Control Demetre Daskalakis to Jezebel. “Finally we’re seeing that the curve of decline is statistically significant. I think this is a harbinger of really good things to come.”
While HIV rates among homosexual men have sharply declined, the 2016 study found the number of new cases actually rose slightly among women, with black and Latina women being at a disproportionately higher risk.
“We’re going to really energize our next campaign to be very, very women focused,” Daskalakis continued to Jezebel. “We need to better with women, and so we will.”