A draft report released by the New York City Commission on HIV/AIDS calls for several new or enhanced initiatives to help combat the spread of HIV in the city, which is home to more HIV-positive people than any other U.S. urban center, The New York Times reports. The plan, created by the 21-person HIV/AIDS commission, includes the following recommendations:
-Improving access to HIV antibody testing, particularly among such high-risk groups as minorities, injection-drug users, and the homeless;
-Significantly stepping up condom distribution programs in prisons, schools, bars, and nightclubs;
-Expanding needle-exchange programs;
-Making HIV antibody tests a routine part of every emergency room visit in all city hospitals;
-Improving HIV treatment and housing programs;
-Creating education and prevention campaigns that address HIV-related problems in high-risk groups, such as crystal methamphetamine abuse among gay men and AIDS stigma among African-Americans.
The draft document also supports new statewide HIV regulations that take effect next week, including streamlined HIV antibody testing requirements and provisions that allow health workers to collect and report on data from HIV patients' viral-load and drug-resistance tests.
The draft proposal is now open to public comment. It is scheduled to be adopted on June 13.