Source: NJ Dept. Health
The Governor Phil Murphy administration is taking steps to end the HIV epidemic in New Jersey by 2025. As part of this effort, the New Jersey Department of Health 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. 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 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, led by the Prevention Access Campaign, to spread awareness about how effective HIV medications are in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV.
There is now effectively no risk of sexual transmission of HIV when people with the disease are taking medications as prescribed, and have achieved and maintained an undetectable amount of the virus in the body. But undetectable HIV levels do NOT mean you can decrease or stop your treatment: if you do, your levels will rise again.
Over the past 30 years, medical advances have led to a decline in the transmission of HIV from mothers to babies: since 2007, the number of new cases of pediatric HIV diagnoses has dropped by 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.
Another initiative is #NJEndsHIV2025, with the goal of reducing the rate of new HIV infections by 75%; ensure that 100% of persons living with HIV/AIDS know their status, and ensure that 90% of persons diagnosed with HIV/AIDS are suppressed virally.
In the call to the public for input and guidance on ways to end the epidemic, everyone is invited to take part in this survey.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Though undetectable now equals untransmittable, it still also equals being HIV positive, which you MUST continue tell ALL your of sexual partners beforehand:
NEW JERSEY NJSA 2C:34-5(b): “A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree who, knowing that he or she is infected with human immune deficiency virus (HIV) or any other related virus identified as a probable causative agent of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), commits an act of sexual penetration without the informed consent of the other person.”