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Governor Cuomo Calls for Decrease in Future AIDS Infections

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Could AIDS be a thing of the past in New York state by 2020? That's the goal of Governor Cuomo, but how realistic is it?

The governor is calling for the total number of new infections annually to be just 750 by 2020. Currently it's 3,000. From 2002 to 2010 the rate of new HIV infections fell 37 percent annually. Officials credit early testing and pre-exposure drugs for the progress. John Barry of the Southern Tier AIDS Program estimates there are 20,000 people in the state with the virus who need to know their status. Those who do, Barry says, are less likely to transmit the virus.

"To test as many people as possible. To make sure that the folks who test positive are treated and to use state-of-the-art prevention. In this case they're specifically talking about pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is giving people an anti-HIV medication in they're at significant risk of becoming HIV positive," said John Barry, Executive Director of the Southern Tier AIDS Program.

According to Barry taking anti-HIV medications correctly drops a person's viral load enough to make it virtually impossible to transmit the virus.