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END AIDS NY 2020 Community Coalition Hosts Rally and Dance Party

Friday April 21, 2017

On Sunday, April 23, head to the NYC AIDS Memorial at St. Vincent's Triangle for the Undetectable=Untransmittable Dance Party to End HIV Stigma.

"Achieving viral suppression is now a proven method of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV and is taking us one step closer to ending the HIV epidemic in New York City," said NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "When a person is undetectable, they are not only protecting their own health, but the health of their fellow New Yorkers. The Health Department will continue to work towards making antiretroviral therapy more readily available for all who need it, and we thank our partners at the End AIDS NY 2020 Coalition for standing with us in this effort."

The End AIDS New York 2020 Community Coalition, and the New York City Health Department are joining forces to share the message that an undetectable viral load means that HIV cannot be sexually transmitted to others.

On Sunday, April 23, from 3-5 p.m., a rally and dance party at the NYC AIDS Memorial will mark the public release of the End AIDS NY 2020 Coalition's Statement on Viral Load Suppression, endorsed by 80+ organizations, and public support of the U = U campaign, organized by the Prevention Access Campaign.

With this statement, the Coalition joins national and international HIV experts to affirm that antiretroviral treatment (ART) that suppresses a patient's viral load to an "undetectable" level, not only successfully protects their own health but is a powerful tool to protect the health of their sexual partners.

"Fear of HIV transmission drives HIV stigma, discrimination, and HIV criminalization laws, so by amplifying the message that Undetectable = Untransmittable, we can dismantle this fear," reads an excerpt from the End AIDS New York 2020 Community Coalition statement, which also calls for immediate steps to translate the supporting evidence into new actions to end AIDS.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be DJ'd by Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Acting Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Disease Control at the New York City Health Department.

"Durable viral suppression is the most powerful tool in the HIV prevention toolkit," said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Acting Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Disease Control at the NYC Health Department. "The resilient people living with HIV who adhere to their regimens and get and keep their viral load suppressed are responsible for driving down the number of new infections in our jurisdiction to historic lows. Keeping themselves healthy means ending the possibility of sexual transmission of HIV. When status becomes irrelevant, stigma will disappear. We will create a future that is status neutral. The data support it, and so do we."

Speakers will include NYC Council Member Corey Johnson, and Prevention Access Campaign Executive Director Bruce Richman.

"Combating HIV stigma has always been a cornerstone of our advocacy efforts and instrumental to ending AIDS as an epidemic. With the Coalition's endorsement of U=U, what our institutions are saying officially merely confirms what many people living with HIV already believe and have begun to use in calculating their personal decisions. But the idea is subversive and therefore has largely spread underground and by word of mouth. The more institutions start saying it publicly, the more the principle can be openly discussed," said Housing Works President and CEO Charles King. "On Sunday, our community is coming together and celebrate our beautiful, powerful, full, HIV-positive, sex-positive lives, and to hold the vision that all of those affected by HIV can be healthy, supported, and dancing in the streets!"

The Undetectable=Untransmittable Dance Party to End HIV Stigma will be held from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday April 23 at the NYC AIDS Memorial, St. Vincent's Triangle, at 7th Avenue & Greenwich Avenue, NYC.

For information or tickets, click here.

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