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Governor Andrew Cuomo Signs Bill for HIV Prevention Education in Jails and Prisons

10.23.2019

For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:
Krishna Stone, KrishnaS@gmhc.org

 

New York, NY--Gay Men's Health Crisis applauds the New York State Legislature for passing and Governor Cuomo for signing legislation that will ensure people who are incarcerated can be provided with HIV prevention education and materials prior to release from prison.

We commend the passage of A916/S595, which will offer necessary information on preventing HIV transmission to formerly incarcerated individuals, who are often a vulnerable population. As a result of passing this legislation, jails and prisons would also be required to provide to individuals who are being released with instructions about how to obtain free HIV testing and referrals to community-based HIV prevention, education and counseling resources. As the state proceeds in its efforts to end the HIV epidemic in New York State, we strongly believe this is an important step in doing so while also addressing the needs of vulnerable populations.

"GMHC has a long history of advocating for people who are incarcerated and are at risk of contracting or already living with HIV," said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie. "As the city and state continue to address criminal justice issues, including reentry work, we believe that ensuring optimal health is crucial for people who are currently incarcerated and formerly incarcerated. We cannot neglect those who are often forgotten in our larger society. We commend the legislature and Governor Cuomo for passing and signing this bill into law. Innovative and bold measures that center on vulnerable populations will contribute to ending the epidemic and advancing equity."

People who have been incarcerated may be unaware of their HIV status and of any medical advances that can prevent contracting HIV, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). In 2010, New York State was found to have over 3,000 prisoners who were living with HIV. Education, HIV testing, and referrals are critical to prevent an increase in HIV transmission, which is why these interventions need to be accessible to individuals transitioning from incarceration.

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About Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC)
Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the world's first HIV/AIDS service organization. GMHC is on the front lines providing services to over 13,000 people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Programs include testing, prevention, nutrition, legal, supportive housing, mental health, and substance use services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state, and federal levels with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic. For more information, visit www.gmhc.org.

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