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HIV Diagnoses In New York City At Record Low, Health Department Says

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced Wednesday that HIV diagnoses in the city have reached their lowest level since tracking began.

According to the 2016 HIV Surveillance Annual Report, a total of 2,279 people were newly diagnosed with HIV last year, down 8.6 percent from 2015. Since HIV reporting began in 2001, new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men reached a statistically significant low – with 1,236 compared with 1,450 in 2015, the department said.

Black, Latino and white men who have sex with men all saw similar declines in HIV diagnoses, with the largest drop among white and Latino men, the department said. But young men of color continue to shoulder the burden of diagnoses, the department said.

The department said there was a small increase among HIV diagnoses in women since 2015, with black and Latina women making up more than 90 percent of cases.

The report showed further that more New Yorkers with HIV are achieving viral suppression. In 2016, 84 percent of HIV-positive people receiving medical care in the city were virally suppressed, up from 70 percent in 2011 when tracking began.

The progress is important in particular because of new clinical research showing that people with HIV who are taking antiretroviral medications maintain an undetectable viral load for at least six months and do not transmit HIV sexually, the department said.

"The historic low in new HIV diagnoses is yet another indication that we remain on the road to ending the HIV epidemic in our city," Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a news release. "While we have seen a dramatic decrease in HIV diagnoses among the MSM community overall, we must continue to work together to address the excess number of new HIV infections in communities of color."

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