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Trillium Health's Dr. Bill Valenti joins Governor Cuomo's Task Force developed to end the AIDS epidemic by 2020

Nov 10, 2014

Task Force Charged With Implementing Three-Point Plan to Decrease New HIV Infections to 750 per Year by 2020

Additional Groups Will Help Steer Task Force and Publicize Efforts to End the Epidemic

Albany, NY (October 14, 2014)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced members of a Task Force that will work to implement the plan to end the AIDS epidemic in New York. The Task Force – whose work will be supplemented by two advisory groups in the near future – will support the effort to reduce the number of new HIV infections to 750 per year by 2020. Together, all three groups will consist of experts and community advocates from across New York and will perform public outreach and awareness campaigns in line with the Governor's plan.


“HIV/AIDS has plagued families across this State for too long, and together we are going to put an end to this epidemic,” Governor Cuomo said. “This disease can impact people from all walks of life, and the sooner society realizes that, the sooner we can end the stigma that keeps too many people from getting tested and treated. I want to thank all who have joined us to implement this plan so far – their contributions are helping to save lives in virtually every corner of our State.”


The three key groups charged with ending the epidemic are:


  1. A Task Force, which has been established in support of Governor Cuomo’s three-point plan and will develop and issue recommendations as well as draft New York’s blueprint to end the epidemic. Four subcommittees will focus specifically on prevention, care, data, and housing and supportive services (members are listed below);
  2. The Public Official Advisory Group, which will be made up of state and local public officials with significant interest and experience in HIV and AIDS who will be given the opportunity to provide feedback to the task force; and
  3. The Public Awareness Ambassadors will be active LGBT and AIDS awareness advocates that will help raise awareness, promote the Governor’s plan, and reduce the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.


Members of the Public Official Advisory Group and the Public Awareness Ambassadors will be announced at a later date.


The end of the AIDS epidemic in New York will occur when the total number of new HIV infections has fallen below the number of HIV-related deaths. In June, Governor Cuomo announced a three-point plan to decrease new HIV infections to the point where the number of people living with HIV in New York State is reduced for the first time by:


  1. Identifying people with HIV who remain undiagnosed and linking them to health care;
  2. Linking and retaining people diagnosed with HIV to health care and getting them on anti-HIV therapy to maximize HIV virus suppression so they remain healthy and prevent further transmission; and
  3. Providing access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for high-risk people to keep them HIV negative.


“These efforts will maximize the availability of life-saving, transmission-interrupting treatment for HIV, saving lives and improving the health of New Yorkers,” said Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, M.D., J.D. “They will move us from a history of having the worst HIV epidemic in the country to one where new infections will be rare and those living with the disease will have normal lifespans with few complications.”


While the nation as a whole has seen no decrease in the number of HIV diagnoses, over the last decade, New York State has achieved a 40 percent reduction in new HIV cases and significant decreases in HIV incidence across almost all categories of race, ethnicity, gender, age and risk. Although the number of new HIV infections has been declining for a number of years, the total number of New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS has continued to increase. This is because people with HIV can now live a normal life span and the number of HIV/AIDS deaths is also decreasing.


The Governor’s task force will meet on five occasions beginning on October 14. All meetings will be made public and viewable via webcast on the governor’s website at The first meeting will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at the Troy Hilton Garden Inn; subsequent meetings will alternate between the Capital Region and New York City.


Sir Elton John, Founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation said, "Governor Cuomo understands that HIV/AIDS is an issue of justice and equality, and to end AIDS we need to end the stigma. With the establishment of this task force, Governor Cuomo continues to lead the way towards an end of AIDS, and position the State of New York as a global leader in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment."


Housing Works President & CEO Charles King said, “I am grateful to the Governor and the Department of Health for their boldness and for the opportunity to be one voice among many crucial perspectives guiding the end-of-AIDS Task Force recommendations. For years, I have said that even without a vaccine or a cure, we have the tools to end AIDS as an epidemic right now. With the convening of this Task Force, the State is taking the first step in making good on its promise to bring the full force of government and its resources to bear on ending AIDS.”


President of the Latino Commission on AIDS Guillermo Chacon said, “I am honored to serve on this historic Task Force. We recognize the commitment and leadership of Governor Cuomo to develop a plan to end AIDS in New York State by 2020. I will contribute at all levels to ensure a plan that will address the needs and challenges of those that have been heavily impacted by the HIV and AIDS epidemic.”


National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. Executive Director C. Virginia Fields said, “I applaud Governor Cuomo for taking a bold but needed step at a time when African Americans continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV.”


Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Nathan M. Schaefer said, “It is an honor to be appointed to the Task Force that will work closely with Governor Cuomo's welcome and ambitious plan to end the AIDS epidemic by 2020. HIV/AIDS disproportionately impacts LGBT New Yorkers and I look forward to fighting on behalf of our community to eradicate the virus in the Empire State.”


Ending the Epidemic Task Force


Community Co-Chair: Charles King, Chief Executive Officer, Housing Works, Inc.
Government Co Chair:Guthrie Birkhead, MD, MPH, Deputy Commissioner, Office of Public Health, NYSDOH


Diane Arneth, President, Community Health Action of Staten Island
Benjamin Anderson Bashein, Executive Director, ACRIA
Jack Beck, Director, Prison Visiting Project, Correctional Association of New York
Jo Ivy Boufford, MD, President, New York Academy of Medicine
Courtney Burke, Deputy Secretary for Health, New York State
Gale Burstein, MD, MPH, Commissioner, Erie County Department of Health
Eli Camhi, Executive Director, SelectHealth/Special Populations at VNSNY CHOICE
Alex Carballo-Dieguez, PhD, Research Scientist, HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, New York State Psychiatric Institute. Professor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry) at CUMC. Columbia University
Guillermo Chacon, President, Latino Commission on AIDS
Allan Clear, Executive Director, Harm Reduction Coalition
Robert Cordero, President, BOOM! Health
Demetre Daskalakis, MD, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, NYCDOHMH
Sherry Deren, PhD, Director, Center for Drug Use and HIV Research, NYU College of Nursing
Don C. Des Jarlais, PhD, Director of Research, Beth Israel Medical Center
Erin Drinkwater, Executive Director, Brooklyn Community Pride Center
Ken Dunning, Director of HIV/AIDS Program, American Indian Community House
Sharen Duke, Executive Director, Chief Executive Officer, AIDS Service Center NYC
James Eigo, AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP)
Lawrence Eisenstein, MD, Commissioner, Nassau County Department of Health
Stephen Ferrara, DNP, Executive Director, The Nurse Practitioner Association New York State
C. Virginia Fields, President and CEO, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc.
Doug Fish, MD, Chief, Division of HIV Medicine, Albany Medical Center
Ingrid Floyd, Executive Director, Iris House
Jennifer Flynn, Executive Director, VOCAL NY
Robert Fullilove, PhD, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Tracie M. Gardner, Co-Director of Policy, Legal Action Center
Vito Grasso, Executive Deputy Director, NYS Academy of Family Physicians
Terry Hamilton, Director of HIV Services, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation
Perry Halkitis, PhD, Professor of Applied Psychology, Public Health, & Population Health, Director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies at New York University
Mark Harrington, Executive Director, Treatment Action Group
Cristina Herrera, Gender Identity Project Community Prevention Coordinator, Translatina Network/ The Center
Marjorie J. Hill, PhD, Consultant, NYS AIDS Advisory Council Chair
Zachary Jones, Senior Bishop, Unity Fellowship Church
Perry Junjulas, Executive Director, Albany Damien Center
David Kilmnick, PhD, MSW, Chief Executive Officer, Long Island GLBT Services Network
Linda Lambert, Executive Director, New York Chapter, American College of Physicians
Jay Laudato, Executive Director, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
Kalvin Laveille, Community Outreach Coordinator, Columbia University, SASDC Co Chair, NYSDOH
Kelsey Louie, Chief Executive Officer, Gay Men’s Health Crisis
Gal Mayer, MD, Associate Director, HIV Medical Sciences, Gilead Sciences
Wilfredo Morel, Director, Hispanic Health, Hudson River Health Care and Community Relations
William Murphy, Executive Director, RYAN/Chelsea-Clinton Community Health Center
Denis Nash, PhD, Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Executive Officer, Doctor of Public Health Programs, City University of New York, School of Public Health and Hunter College
Regina Quattrochi, Chief Executive Officer, Bailey House
Robert H. Remien, PhD, Director, HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, NYSPI and Columbia University
Stanley Richards, Senior VP, The Fortune Society
Therese Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer, APICHA
Nathan M. Schaefer, Executive Director, Empire State Pride Agenda
Ron Silverio, President and Chief Executive Officer, Evergreen Health Services of Western New York
Peter Staley, AIDS Activist
Reverend Moonhawk River Stone, Psychotherapist, Consultant, Riverstone Consulting
Glennda Testone, Executive Director, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center
Daniel Tietz, Chief Special Services Officer, NYC Human Resources Administration
Antonio Urbina, MD, Associate Medical Director, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital
William Valenti, MD, Trillium Health, Medical Society of the State of New York, Infectious Disease Committee Chair
Jay Varma, MD, Deputy Commissioner for Disease Control, NYCDOHMH
Linda Wagner, Executive Director, New York State Association of County Health Officials
Dennis Whalen, President, Healthcare Association of New York State
Terri Wilder Director, HIV/AIDS Education & Training, Spencer Cox Center for Health, Mt. Sinai Institute for Advanced Medicine
Doug Wirth, President, Chief Executive Officer, AmidaCare
Rodney Wright, MD, Director, HIV Program, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine