IAPAC President/CEO Dr. José M. Zuniga joined Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema and a public health delegation from the Dutch capital city during a visit to New York City this week for a bidirectional Fast-Track Cities exchange.
The visit provided an opportunity for mutual engagement about progress in New York City’s HIV response and the sharing of best practices. Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, who serves as the Deputy Commissioner of Disease Control at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Charles King from Housing Works briefed the Amsterdam delegation and discussed lessons learned and challenges still to be addressed to end New York City’s HIV epidemic.
“Bidirectional exchanges between Fast-Track Cities are a critical part of our best practice sharing strategy because a high tide lifts all boats,” Zuniga said. “IAPAC aims to work with Amsterdam, London, New York City, and other cities to facilitate such exchanges in 2019-2020.”
As part of a statewide “Ending the Epidemic” initiative, New York City has increased the number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) who have achieved viral suppression on antiretroviral therapy (ART) from 90% to 93% between 2015 and 2017. Yet more work remains to link a higher percentage of PLHIV to ART. In relation to the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets, New York City reached 93-86-93 in 2017.
The Chelsea Health Center reopened in March 2018 after a multiyear renovation to transition from a sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic into a sexual health center. The center is one of four located throughout New York City that offer a variety of sexual health services, including low-cost and free testing HIV testing, with linkage to preventative and therapeutic care.