TRENTON, NJ--In recognition of World AIDS Day, December 1, the Murphy Administration is taking steps to end the HIV epidemic in New Jersey by 2025. As part of this effort, the Department will work with partners to promote testing and link individuals with treatment and HIV medications that are effective in preventing transmission of the virus.
“There are more than 37,000 residents in the state living with HIV and while we have made great progress in reducing the incidence of HIV, there is still so much more work to be done,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “I am calling on all stakeholders to join the Department of Health to work strategically to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”
As a first step toward ending the epidemic, the New Jersey Department of Health is joining the Rutgers School of Public Health and more than 780 organizations across the nation to support the Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) campaign.
UequalsU or U=U is a global campaign led by the Prevention Access Campaign to spread awareness about how effective HIV medications are in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV. There is effectively no risk of sexual transmission of HIV when people living with disease are taking HIV medications as prescribed and have achieved and maintained an undetectable amount of the virus in the body.
“Scientific advances in HIV care and treatment are game changers that can get us to the vision of a future in which new HIV infections are rare,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said. “In New Jersey, the rate of new HIV cases has declined 39 percent in nearly a decade because of success in getting people tested for HIV and linked to treatment.”
The number of new HIV diagnoses declined from 1,722 cases in 2006 to 1,048 in 2017.
“The Department is proud to collaborate with the Rutgers School of Public Health to spread awareness about the U=U science and will encourage stakeholders and other state agencies to help us promote this campaign,” Elnahal added.
As part of the observance of World AIDS Day, Department of Health staff will participate in events across the state to promote the campaign.
Today, Christopher Menschner, Assistant Commissioner for HIV, STD & TB Services, will join the Rutgers School of Public Health and School of Nursing for their second annual World AIDS Day Community Forum in Newark to share the U=U message.
“The Rutgers School of Public Health has simultaneously endorsed U=U and stands in full solidarity with the New Jersey Department of Health and the Governor’s Office in our commitment to end AIDS and our ongoing efforts to eliminate the stigma associated with the disease,” Rutgers School of Public Health Dean Perry N. Halkitis said.
Throughout New Jersey, local health departments, community-based organizations, and hospitals will host events including educational programs, free screenings and health fairs. For a list of 2018 World AIDS Day events in New Jersey, click here.
The Department’s Director of HIV Care and Treatment Loretta Dutton will attend the Burlington County Health Department’s Rock the Ribbon HIV education event today in Westhampton.
"We are thrilled that the New Jersey Department of Health has signed on as the ninth U.S state to declare Undetectable = Untransmittable,” said Prevention Access Campaign’s founding Executive Director Bruce Richman. “Their commitment sends a message across the country that it’s essential and urgent to share this message to improve the lives of people with HIV and bring us closer to the end of the epidemic. We are incredibly grateful to the New Jersey Department of Health for their leadership.”
New Jersey facts:
- From July 2016 to June 2018, 1,243 people were linked to PrEP through the New Jersey PrEP Counselor Program. Through the program, a network of PrEP counselors provide medication—a pill a day—to those at significant risk of contracting HIV. There are 24 PrEP Counselors located across the state.
- Over the past 30 years, medical advances have led to a decline in the transmission of HIV from mothers to babies: the number of new cases of pediatric HIV diagnoses dropped from eight in 2007 to one in 2017 (nearly 88 percent)
- More than 6,200 persons living with HIV received medications through the NJ AIDS Drug Distribution Program last year. The program provides life-sustaining and life-prolonging medications to low-income individuals with no other source of payment for these drugs.
- Over 79,000 free, confidential rapid HIV tests were administered at more than 170 locations in New Jersey in 2017. A list of rapid testing sites is available here.
- Nearly 80 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS are 40 years old or older.
- Minorities account for 77 percent of adult/adolescent HIV/AIDS cases ever reported to the state, and 79 percent of all persons living with HIV
- In 2017, 48 percent of new HIV infections occurred among gay/bisexual men and 2 percent were among persons who inject drugs.
- Of gay/bisexual men diagnosed with HIV from 2012 to 2016, 66 percent were ages 13 to 34.
- About 79 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS are Black or Hispanic
- Women account for 32 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS. Four out of five women living with HIV/AIDS are minorities.