New Jersey Department of Health

PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cathleen D. Bennett

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

New Jersey Department of Health Observes World AIDS Day 2016

This year’s theme: ‘Leadership. Commitment. Impact.’

New Jersey will join the World Health Organization tomorrow, December 1, in observing World AIDS Day with events statewide organized to support individuals living with HIV infection, remember those who have died from the disease and encourage everyone to seek HIV testing to determine if they are infected. This year’s theme is “Leadership. Commitment. Impact.”

As of June 30, 2016, more than 37,336 people were living with HIV or AIDS in New Jersey. It is estimated that about one in eight people living with HIV do not know they are infected.

Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett will participate in an AIDS walk and World AIDS Day Commemoration on Dec. 1 at 12:15 p.m. in Jersey City. More than a dozen events are planned throughout the state. For example, the AIDS Outreach Program at Hackensack University Medical Center is hosting a prevention-focused conference for high school students. For a list of 2016 World AIDS Day events in New Jersey, visit

Nationally, 44,073 people were diagnosed with HIV infection in 2014, and more than 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with the infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The annual number of new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. declined 19 percent between 2005 and 2014.

“In New Jersey, thanks to the progress in linking new HIV-infections to medical treatment, that decline has been even more significant,” Commissioner Bennett said. “The number of new HIV diagnoses went from 1,898 cases in 2005 to 1,196 in 2014. That represents a 37 percent decline.”

Healthcare professionals should include HIV testing as part of routine patient care. A complete list of New Jersey HIV testing sites can be found here.  

“HIV is a treatable infection, and early intervention is key,” Commissioner Bennett said. “People with HIV can live long, healthy lives if they seek HIV testing, are linked to medical treatment and follow their prescribed medical treatment plans.”

More than 6,634 HIV patients received medications through the NJ AIDS Drug Distribution Program between April 2015 and March 2016. People who participated in unprotected sex or shared needles should seek HIV rapid testing that produces a result in about 20 minutes. During 2015, nearly 87,000 free, confidential rapid HIV tests were administered at more than 150 locations in New Jersey. A list of rapid testing sites is available here.

In August, Governor Chris Christie signed legislation allowing any municipality to operate a Syringe Access Program and directed the state Health Department to invest $200,000 for syringes and supplies at the five existing pilot programs in Atlantic City, Camden, Jersey City, Newark and Paterson.

“These are programs that provide life-saving access to an array of vital services including testing, counseling and education as well as preventing the transmission of blood-borne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis,” Governor Christie has said.

New Jersey facts:

  • Over the past three decades, medical advances have led to a decline in the transmission of HIV from mothers to babies: the number of new cases of pediatric HIV diagnoses dropped from 12 in 2001 to one in 2015 (88 percent).
  • Nearly 80 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS are 40 years old or older.
  • Minorities account for 77 percent of adult/adolescent HIV/AIDS cases ever reported to the state, and 79 percent of all persons living with HIV.
  • Thirty-six percent of new HIV infections between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 occurred among gay/bisexual men and 3 percent among injecting drug users.
  • About 75 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS are black or Hispanic. 
  • Women account for 33 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS. 

For the latest New Jersey HIV/AIDS report, visit

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