PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
December 2, 2019

Judith M. Persichilli
Acting Commissioner

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

New Jersey Department of Health Recognizes World AIDS Day

New Jersey health officials are commemorating World AIDS Day on December 1 with more than a dozen events across the state to support the more than 38,000 state residents living with HIV or AIDS, remember those we have lost and encourage residents to seek HIV testing, and treatment if found to be positive.

“New Jersey has made great strides in reducing the number of new HIV cases and increasing access to drug therapies for both treating and preventing new HIV infections,” said Acting Commissioner Judith Persichilli.” The number of new HIV diagnoses went from 1,541 cases in 2007 to 1,124 in 2017.

Governor Murphy issued a proclamation to acknowledge the community-based organizations, hospitals, clinics, health care professionals, advocates and community members working to help end the HIV epidemic in New Jersey.

Last year, the Murphy Administration pledged to end the HIV epidemic in New Jersey by 2025. As part of this effort, the Department has been working with partners to promote testing and link individuals with treatment and HIV medications that are effective in preventing transmission of the virus.

In May, the Department held a series of listening sessions to hear suggestions from the public and local stakeholders in developing a plan to address the epidemic over the next six years.

The Department also hosted a Harm Reduction Workshop to discuss how harm reduction policy and practice can prevent overdose deaths, reduce drug-related stigma and decrease transmission of HIV and hepatitis C. New Jersey currently has seven Harm Reduction Centers, which provide  harm reduction counseling and supplies to prevent and reduce the transmission of HIV and other blood-borne diseases and prevent overdoses.

The centers have served over 3,100 clients over the past year and distributed over 643,000 clean syringes – significantly reducing the use of used syringes among people who inject drugs.

As part of this year’s World AIDS Day observance, Department of Health staff will participate in events to help raise awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.

Acting Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli and Christopher Menschner, Assistant Commissioner for HIV, STD & TB Services, will join the Rutgers School of Public Health and Nursing for their annual World AIDS Day Commemoration: HIV Politics & Policy, on Friday, Dec 6 . The event focuses on policies that can lead to the end of AIDS. Last year, the Department joined the Rutgers School of Public Health and more than 780 organizations across the nation to support the Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) campaign., a global campaign led by the Prevention Access Campaign to spread awareness about how effective HIV medications are in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, 5441 patients received HIV-related medications through the New Jersey AIDS Drug Distribution Program. Over the past year, the Department has supported the testing of over 74,000 people for HIV. 

The CDC recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once, and those at higher risk should be tested at least once annually. Healthcare professionals should offer an HIV test as part of routine care.

A list of New Jersey's World AIDS Day commemorations can be found here.

New Jersey facts:

  • Over the past year, 877 people were linked to PrEP through the New Jersey PrEP Counselor Program. Through the program, a network of PrEP counselors provide medication—a pill a day—to those at significant risk of contracting HIV. There are 35 PrEP Counselors located across the state.
  • Eighty percent of persons living with HIV/AIDS are 40 years of age 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-two percent of those living with HIV/AIDS are females; 39% of females living with HIV are currently 20-49 years old.
  • The number of perinatal infections declined by 82% between 2004 and 2018. In 2014, there were 11 pediatric cases, whereas in 2018 there were 2 cases.
  • Eighty-eight percent of pediatric cases living with HIV/AIDS belong to minority races/ethnicities.

 For more information about New Jersey HIV services, visit: www.nj.gov/health/hivstdtb/hiv-aids/

 Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter @njdeptofhealth, Facebook /njdeptofhealth, Instagram @njdeptofhealth and Snapchat @njdoh.

Last Reviewed: 12/2/2019