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The epidemic of HIV and AIDS continues to grow in the United States, and notably in New York. An estimated 80,000 people in New York are live with HIV, the largest population of people living with HIV in the U.S., and the number of infections only rises. Moreover, HIV infection rates among incarcerated persons in New York State are significantly higher than those in the general population, and far exceed the national average for incarcerated persons living with HIV.

Targeted interventions aimed at people who inject drugs – including medication-assisted therapy (for example with methadone or buprenorphine), and the provision of sterile needles and syringes – have proven effective in preventing HIV transmission and other adverse consequences of injection drug use. New York State’s Department of Public Health and the New York AIDS Advisory Council, consistent with U.S. and international health authorities, have thus recommended that harm reduction services be provided to prevent HIV and other bloodborne diseases among people who inject drugs, both in- and outside prison.

New York has taken some important measures to improve access to methadone, buprenorphine, and needle and syringe exchange programs, but a number of obstacles to these critical services remain, putting thousands of New Yorkers at unnecessary risk of HIV infection. New York should take urgent action to prevent the spread of HIV by directing the Department of Health and the Department of Correctional Services to support and enhance proven effective harm reduction methods. These methods include peer distribution of sterile syringes, and ensuring the provision of the full range of health care services for drug users, including viral hepatitis testing and treatment; medication-assisted therapy, including with methadone buprenorphine; and appropriate overdose response education and support.

Condoms as Evidence

A.2736 (AM Clark) / S.1379 (Sen. Montgomery) - Prohibits using possession of a condom as evidence in a trial, hearing or proceeding in certain circumstances.

  • Report in support of legislation by the Committee on AIDS, April 2013.

Emergency Shelter Allowance

A.2565 (AM Glick) / S.2664 (Sen. Duane) - Provides that certain persons living with HIV or AIDS shall not be required to pay more than 30% of the household income towards shelter costs. (2009/2010 Legislative Sessions)

  • Report in support of legislation by the Committee on AIDS and the Committee on Social Welfare Law, May 2010.
  • Vetoed by Governor, Veto Memo No. 6818 - September 18, 2010

NYC Policy Recommendations

Letter to Mayor de Blasio offering policy recommendations related to New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS, February 2014.

Syringe Exchange Programs

A.8396-A (AM Gottfried) / S.5620-A (Sen. Duane) - relates to hypodermic syringes and the lawful possession of such syringes. (2009/2010 Legislative Sessions)

  • Report on legislation by the Committee on AIDS and the Committee on Drugs and the Law, Reissued March 2010.
  • Signed by Governor, Chp. 284 - July 30, 2010
  • Legislative Affairs Blog: "Syringe Access Bill Signed Into Law" - August 3, 2010

For a full list of committee reports, click here.