New York City officials say a major target has been reached in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The goal, expected to be met in 2020, was 90-90-90, meaning the city wanted at least 90 percent of people with HIV to know their status, to be on treatment and to have suppressed viral loads with treatment.
On Monday, officials announced those numbers had been surpassed in 2018 with 93 percent of people knowing their HIV status, 90 percent of people on treatment and 92 percent of people with suppressed viral loads.
It comes on the heels of news that the number of new HIV diagnoses in New York City dropped below 2,000 for the first time since records began in 2001.
In 2018, 93% of New York City residents knew their HIV status, 90% were on treatment and 92% were on treatment had suppressed viral loads, ahead of the city's 2020 target of 90-90-90. Pictured: A man takes a free HIV test in New York City, June 2019
'Years of hard work and determination has put New York front and center in the global fight against HIV/AIDS,' Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
'With more New Yorkers receiving treatment than ever, the day of zero diagnoses is closer than ever - something many believed unthinkable not so long ago. We will not rest until we end the epidemic once and for all.'
Earlier this month, figures were released that revealed 1,917 New Yorkers were diagnosed with HIV last year, down from 2,157 the year before, and from 4,846 in 2001.
While rates have been steadily dropping for years, the new figures showed a promising drop in rates among women, which have not been falling as quickly.
Health Commissioner Dr Oxiris Barbot said the record is a testament to the city's campaigns that have sought to educate New Yorkers about ways to have safer sex, rather than demonizing sex.
'We take a data-driven, sex-positive approach to HIV prevention that is firmly grounded in equity - and we are proving that it works,' Barbot said in a statement.
'New York City can end the epidemic if we continue to fight against the stigma, bias and discrimination that continue to be significant drivers of HIV, particularly among Black and Latino men who have sex with men.'
Declines in new HIV diagnoses were seen among in all five boroughs, all races, men and women.
There was an age discrepancy: rates fell among those aged 49 and older, but not so much among younger age groups.
In 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state launched the Ending the Epidemic initiative, which receives about $20 million in funding annually,
The plan has a three step approach: identifying people with HIV who are undiagnosed; making sure people diagnosed with HIV keep up with their healthcare; and stopping HIV transmissions completely for people at high risk with PrEP.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) users take a pill every day. The pill contains two medications, which help prevent HIV