PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
December 01, 2021

Judith M. Persichilli

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

New Jersey Department of Health Observes World AIDS Day

New Jersey health officials are commemorating World AIDS Day on December 1 with over a dozen events across the state to support the more than 38,000 state residents living with HIV/AIDS, remember those lost and encourage residents to seek HIV testing and treatment if positive. This year’s theme is Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice.

Today, the Department’s Assistant Commissioner of the Division of HIV, STD, TB Services, Christopher Menschner, will attend a North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI) World AIDS Day recognition event at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

“There has been significant progress in preventing new cases and improving the lives of those living with HIV, but there is more work to be done,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “New Jersey remains committed to ending the HIV epidemic.”

In advance of World AIDS Day, the Department released a plan proposed by the New Jersey Taskforce to End the HIV Epidemic entitled, “A Strategic Plan to End the HIV Epidemic in New Jersey by 2025.”

The plan was developed by the New Jersey Taskforce to End the HIV Epidemic, which is comprised of clinical and community‐based service providers, advocates, educators, researchers, members of HIV/AIDS planning groups, persons living with HIV/AIDS and state health department staff.

The plan represents the state’s commitment to end the HIV epidemic by 2025 and sets the following goals:

  • Reduce the number of new HIV infections by 75%
  • Promote access to testing so 100% of individuals living with HIV/AIDS know their status
  • Promote access/linkage to care so 90% of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS are virally suppressed

“Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, HIV testing programs have been innovative in their approach to client services,” said Commissioner Persichilli. “More than 28,000 individuals have been tested for HIV so far this year.” Many HIV testing sites have also partnered with the Department and local public health entities to offer COVID testing and vaccination in tandem with HIV testing. 

Between 2010 and 2019, the number of new adult/adolescent HIV/AIDS diagnoses declined from 1,345 cases in 2010, to 1,115 in 2019 – a 17% decrease.

Similar to findings recently released in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vital Signs, New Jersey has found that men who have sex with men (MSM) have been disproportionately impacted in terms of new diagnoses, especially men of color. Collectively, Black and Latino MSM made up 33 percent of new HIV diagnoses in the state in 2019.  The state’s end the epidemic strategy will focus on addressing disproportionate rates of new infections in sexual and ethnic minority populations, particularly young Black and Latino MSM, and Black and Latino women, with a specific focus on transgender women of color. 

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.  In 2021, the centers have served over 3,000 clients and distributed over 1,340,928 new syringes – significantly reducing the use of used syringes among people who inject drugs.

Thus far in 2021, over 6,446 patients received HIV related medications and health insurance coverage through the New Jersey AIDS Drug Distribution Program.

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.

New Jersey facts:

  • In 2021, 576 people were linked to pre‐exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention (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.
  • Nearly 80 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 (79.4%) of all persons living with HIV.
  • Thirty-one percent of those living with HIV/AIDS are females; 34% of females living with HIV are currently 20-49 years old.
  • Eighty-seven percent of pediatric cases living with HIV/AIDS belong to minority races/ethnicities.

For more information on the Department of Health Division of HIV, STD and TB Services, visit https://nj.gov/health/hivstdtb/ 

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

Last Reviewed: 12/1/2021