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Syracuse Takes on Governor Cuomo's Plan to Ending The Epidemic

Amari Pollard/WAER News

More than 60 people gathered today in the heart of Downtown Syracuse to discuss the updates to Governor Cuomo’s “Ending The Epidemic” Blueprint. The plan outlines the essential steps that need to be taken in order to end AIDS by 2020. Among those in attendance was Mayor Stephanie Miner who committed to convening a regional task force to combat the epidemic.

CNY HIV Care Network Chair John Wikiera says that with advancements in medicine and accessibility, the idea of stopping new infections in five years isn’t unimaginable.

"There are ways of making sure people don't become infected, so that's part of one of the goals for the blueprint. If you keep on reducing the number of people that get infected and you educate the people that may be infected already on how not to transmit the virus, then you're one step ahead of the game."

At the peak of the AIDS epidemic, there were 15,000 new infections annually. In 2013 that number was down to about 3,000, with less than 100 of them being due to shared needles.

The President for Housing Works Charles King says new preventative medicines have made it easier to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS.

"If you're someone who thinks that you're at potential risk for HIV, you have the potential now of taking one pill a day for as long as you're sexually active that will prevent you from ever being infected with HIV. It's called PrEP, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. And one of the things we need to do is scale it up like birth control."

King says by November the only people who won’t have access to AIDS health coverage are undocumented immigrants.

13 summits such as this one will be held across the state to help nurture the implementation of the blueprint. 

I was born and raised in Syracuse, NY. Unable to bring myself to leave the area and drawn to Le Moyne's communication and athletic programs, I decided to attend Le Moyne College where I am now a junior communications major. While at Le Moyne I have dedicated most of my time to being a midfielder on the women's lacrosse team and the News and Features Editor of the school newspaper, The Dolphin. Since I was a little girl, I have been passionate about reading and writing, fascinated by the power words have to connect us and make the world feel a little bit smaller. From that passion stemmed an interest in radio and how people are able to communicate, not just through spoken word, but through music as well.