Funding will help HIV contracted services citywide align with statewide HIV Ending the Epidemic plan

New York, NY- Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Health Committee Chair Corey Johnson today announced $6.6 million in funding for citywide HIV/AIDS contracted services, which will be aimed at reforming the delivery of current HIV prevention strategies in NYC and increasing access to biomedical prevention services. The Council’s End the Epidemic Initiative combines funding for evident based behavioral interventions and expanded funding for services and programs to ensure that New York City reduced new HIV infections to below 750 by the year 2020. These services directly support several recommendations of the statewide Ending the Epidemic blueprint, which Governor Cuomo outlined earlier this summer. The Council will use this investment as an opportunity to take the lead on ensuring that New York City has the resources necessary to reduce new HIV infections.

“This initiative will help continue to provide programs and education to raise awareness of this devastating epidemic,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “It is critically important that all New Yorkers do their part to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. The more we take advantage of these resources, the closer we’ll get to ending the epidemic.”

“New York has a plan to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic – and now we’ve got to fund it,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Health and the only openly HIV positive elected official in New York. “We worked closely with the authors of the Ending the Epidemic blueprint to craft a strategic funding package that directly supports the plan. State and City cooperation is key to achieving the goal set out by Governor Cuomo: ending to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York State by 2020. Every dollar of the Council’s $6.6 million contribution will bring us closer to achieving this goal. This $6.6 million dollars will fund a city-wide PrEP access network — making New York City one of the leaders nationally in funding PrEP to help combat new infections. I want to thank NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her strong leadership on this issue. I also want to thank the advocates who have been valuable partners in developing this initiative, particularly Housing Works President & CEO Charles King, Co-Chair of the State’s Ending the Epidemic Task Force. As someone who has been HIV positive for over 10 years, it’s incredibly moving to know that we are finally in a position to end this epidemic. Together, I know we will succeed.”

In fiscal year 2016, the Council’s End the Epidemic initiative combines baseline funding of $2.7 million and new funding of $3.9 million, for a total of $6.6 million. However, with an estimated minimum of $10 million needed to support all recommendations of the blueprint, the City Council will continue to call for additional baseline funding dedicated towards ending the epidemic in New York City. Most recently, the city expanded biomedical prevention services at all of the Department of Health STD clinics throughout the city but has not dedicated new funding to support the blueprint.

The Council’s Initiative is a result of the advocacy and urgency of local service providers who have been called on the City to support reforming the delivery of prevention services and embracing new biomedical strategies. Some of the components funded by the Council’s End the Epidemic Initiative include:

• HIV Projects Under DSRIP (Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program)- New York City Performing Provider Systems (PPSs) have committed to touching the lives of more than 30,000 New York City residents living with HIV. The technical assistance provided will ensure uniform and coordinated implementation of HIV projects in line with ETE goals and will leverage DSRIP dollars by allowing PPSs to commit 100 percent of their funds to dramatically enhancing rates of viral suppression and quality of life.

• Citywide PrEP Programs- Citywide PrEP programs expand access to PEP and PrEP through education and training to stakeholders. Funding to ACRIA specifically will support essential education and training for non-medical service providers working with clients who have HIV or are at high risk for the disease citywide; while funding to the LGBT center will support PEP/PrEP services for youth people of color.

• Viral Suppression Lab- Through New York City learning collaborative, a viral suppression lab will be established for a broad range of medical and non-medical HIV care providers to support the scale-up of interventions to overcome adherence barriers and promote viral suppression.

• nPEP and PrEP Training/Education Program- The initiative supports and expands medical provider trainings on PrEP and nPEP for health providers and facilities citywide. In addition, it provides essential education and training for non-medical service providers working with clients who have HIV or are at high risk for the disease citywide.

• PrEP Pilot for Adolescents- The initiative funds a demonstration project that would be used to offer PrEP to adolescents at high risk of HIV, using a network of school-based and other adolescent clinics and community-based organizations that serve youth at risk, including MSM and transgender youth.
• Leveraging HIV Testing for Linkage- Organizations funded will provide prevention education and improved access to biomedical prevention services for persons at risk for HIV by leveraging existing community-based HIV testing and HIV prevention programs. The program aims to engage persons reporting risk behaviors in a variety of activities, such as risk behavior screening and prevention education, provider referral resources to clinical sites providing biomedical prevention services for those expressing interest.

• Evidence-Based Interventions to Support Biomedical Prevention-
-Community-Based. (CBO) Settings. The initiative will support CBOs to enhance access to and implementation of biomedical prevention activities in a variety of settings and for a variety of populations using evidence-based or evidence-informed models of education, referral, counseling, support and care. Community-based sites will support biomedical prevention through evidence-based/evidence-informed interventions in community-based settings. The program will be expected to establish clinical partnerships to enhance linkage of persons at highest risk into HIV prevention services.

-Clinical Settings. This initiative will enhance access to and implementation of biomedical prevention activities in a variety of settings and for a variety of populations using evidence-based or evidence-informed models of education, referral, counseling, support and care. This funding will support clinical sites to provide biomedical prevention through evidence-based/evidence-informed interventions in clinical settings for persons at risk of HIV. The program aims to mitigate barriers to effective engagement in biomedical prevention services by leveraging the clinical environment to provide additional support to persons who might benefit from these interventions.

“I am thrilled by the leadership shown by the New York City Council, creating a new initiative to fund Ending the AIDS Epidemic efforts in New York City,” said Charles King, President and CEO, Housing Works, Inc. “Both Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Health Committee Chair Corey Johnson deserve credit for not only carefully tracking the recommendations made by the Ending the Epidemic Taskforce in its Blue Print, but also funding the priorities developed by the community. This is a wise investment that will greatly advance our collective efforts to achieve an end to the epidemic by 2020.”

“The new $6.6 million City Council initiative aligns seamlessly with the work we’re doing at The Center to reach LGBT community members living with or at risk for HIV and connect them to the crucial healthcare they deserve,” said Glennda Testone, Executive Director at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. “This move speaks directly to achieving our shared goal to end the AIDS epidemic by 2020, and puts much-needed funds where they’ll have substantial and lasting impact.”

“At Gay Men’s Health Crisis, we test over 3,000 people each year for HIV,” said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie. “Of those that test positive at our testing center, we have been able to achieve 90 percent viral suppression, which is over twice the viral suppression rate statewide and over 3.5 times the viral suppression rate nationwide. Thanks to the leadership from Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Member Johnson, these life-saving funds will help expand successful programs across New York City, helping us get closer to our collective goal of ending the epidemic.”

“Apicha Community Health Center applauds the New York City Council’s decisive move to align its funding priorities with New York State’s plan to end the AIDS epidemic in New York by 2020,” said Therese R. Rodriguez, CEO of Apicha Community Health Center. “This monumental goal is achievable when all participants of this initiative work in concert”.

“New York City continues to be a leader in the effort to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” said Steven Korf, President and CEO of Interfaith Medical Center. “With dedicated funding like the End the HIV/AIDS Epidemic initiative, safety-net hospitals like Interfaith Medical Center can expand and improve HIV care in communities we serve that continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS.”

“This funding represents a major milestone in advancing our ability to provide effective treatments to those who need them the most,” said Steven M. Safyer, M.D., President and CEO, Montefiore Health System. “I’m proud of our city’s leadership in improving access to effective HIV prevention and bringing us leaps forward towards eradicating HIV infections.”

“The City Council has been a steadfast partner to the community in our ongoing efforts to fight, and now end, HIV/AIDS,” said Diane Arneth, Executive Director, Community Health Action of Staten Island. “We look forward to working with them to align these resources to end the epidemic, and secure the additional resources needed to make sure the job gets done.”

“I commend the City Council for its leadership in allocating $6.6m, as a new initiative, in the fight to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” said C. Virginia Fields, President and CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. “Success of the NYS End the HIV/AIDS Epidemic will move New York City from a history of having the worst HIV epidemic in the country to a future of saving lives and ensuring a better quality of life for persons living with the disease.”

Ending the Epidemic (ETE) in New York State will maximize the availability of life-saving, transmission-interrupting treatment for HIV, saving lives and improving the health of New Yorkers. It will move New York from a history of having the worst HIV epidemic in the country to a future where new infections are rare and those living with the disease have normal lifespans with few complications.

While the incidence of HIV/AIDS has remained stable overall in recent years, there are about 50,000 new HIV infections per year. Since the beginning of the AIDS pandemic in 1981, New York City has endured the highest U.S. burden of HIV, with New York State leading the pack and 80 percent of all New Yorkers with HIV residing in New York City. Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo announced a three-point plan to end AIDS in New York by the year 2020 and reduce new HIV infections from over 3,000 a year to below 750 per year by 2020.