PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
June 30, 2021

Judith M. Persichilli

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

40 Years of Extraordinary Progress in Reducing HIV

Work Continues to End the Epidemic, Reduce Incidence in Communities of Color

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting the first five cases of the syndrome of diseases later named AIDS. Four decades of advances in science and medicine have rendered what was once a deadly virus into a manageable chronic disease. But challenges remain to end the epidemic and reduce the disproportionate impact on Black and Latino individuals living with HIV.

“Tremendous progress has been made in preventative and treatment medications over the past 40 years. But, we must continue the fight to end the epidemic and address the social determinants of health and stigma that put people at risk for HIV, and make it difficult for people living with HIV to maintain their health,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “The HIV community in New Jersey – consumers, providers, and advocates – have worked hard to get us where we are today.”

The 2020 New Jersey HIV/AIDS report posted on the Department’s website today demonstrates the disproportionate impact the HIV epidemic continues to have on individuals of color. Minorities account for 77% of adult/adolescent cumulative (ever reported to the state) of HIV/AIDS cases, and 79% of all people living with HIV/AIDS. Eighty-eight percent of pediatric cases living with HIV/AIDS are minorities.

African Americans represent 15% of New Jersey’s population as of July 2019 but 44% of those living HIV between 2019-2020. Hispanics made up 29% of New Jersey’s population in 2019 but 35% of those living with HIV between 2019-2020. For every White man living with HIV in the state between 2019-2020, there are 2.21 Black and 2.06 Hispanic men living with HIV in New Jersey during that same time frame.

The data in this report will inform the Department’s strategies to help end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our state for all, including vulnerable communities.

As of June 30, 2020, 38,025 people were reported living with HIV or AIDS in New Jersey. Injection drug use and sexual contact remain the most common means of HIV infection. The proportion of individuals with HIV/AIDS who were exposed through injection drug use is lower than in the past, while the proportion of cases that were exposed through sexual contact is increasing. The Department continues to work with partners to promote testing and link individuals to treatment and HIV medications that are effective in preventing HIV transmission. In 2020, there were 28,422 free, confidential rapid HIV tests administered in New Jersey at more than 140 locations. This testing program delivers test results in about 20 minutes, and people are linked to a Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Counselor if HIV negative or HIV treatment provider if HIV positive.

In 2018, the Murphy Administration pledged to end the HIV epidemic in the state by 2025.

Over 6,400 HIV/AIDS patients received medications through the state’s AIDS Drug Distribution Program from April 2019 to March 2020.

To find a Harm Reduction Center near you or to learn more about HIV in New Jersey, please visit the Division of HIV, STD, and TB Services website: nj.gov/health/hivstdtb

You can read the full 2020 New Jersey HIV/AIDS report by visiting: nj.gov/health/hivstdtb/hiv-aids/June2020_HIV_AIDS_Report.pdf

To see the latest CDC report on the progress made over the past 40 years in significantly reducing HIV incidence, please visit: cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7022a1.htm?s

Since the peak of the HIV epidemic, national incidence of the virus has decreased substantially, from 130,400 cases in the mid-1980s to 34,800 in 2019. Please see statement by CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, an infectious disease physician whose pioneering research has helped advance the national and global response to HIV/AIDS: cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/hiv-40-years.html

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

Last Reviewed: 7/23/2021