Rutgers Partners with State to End AIDS in New Jersey
Rutgers School of Public Health partners with the New Jersey Department of Health to end new cases of HIV in New Jersey by 2025
As part of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s initiative to take steps to end the HIV epidemic by 2025 the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is joining the Rutgers School of Public Health and more than 780 organizations nationwide to support the Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) campaign.
Rutgers has been increasing awareness about the effectiveness of HIV medications in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV a part of the U=U global campaign, which was launched by the Prevention Access Campaign in 2016. “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,” said Perry Halkitis, dean. “Partnering with the NJDOH is a huge step in ending HIV/AIDs in New Jersey by 2025 through awareness, outreach, and scientific collaboration, rooted in the needs of those most impacted by the virus.”
The NJDOH will work with partners to promote testing and link individuals with treatment and HIV medications that are effective in preventing transmission of the virus, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The NJDOH and Rutgers School of Public Health will work to spread awareness about U=U science and encourage stakeholders and other agencies to promote the campaign.
“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,” said Shereef Elnahal, NJDOH commissioner. “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 in New Jersey declined from 1,722 cases in 2006 to 1,048 in 2017. The majority of people in the state who are affected by HIV are black, Hispanic, over 40 years of age and/or socioeconomically disadvantaged.
“The state has taken significant strides by linking individuals with PrEP counselors and providing low-cost life-saving medication to those impacted by the virus,” said Halkitis. “I am confident that our partnership, rooted in social justice and health equity, will end new HIV infections by 2025.”