BINGHAMTON, NY – A day conceived to raise awareness about AIDS and mourn the loss of those who died from HIV is now also an opportunity to celebrate some achievements.

Today is World AIDS Day.

John Barry, Executive Director of the Southern Tier AIDS Program, says New York State has seen tremendous progress in the fight against the virus.

Barry credits steps taken since former Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a campaign to end the epidemic 7 years ago.

Since then, across the state the number of annual infections has gone from 3,500 down to 2,000 while the number of tests has gone up.

Barry says the once a day prevention pill known as PrEP has also drastically improved the situation.

“We are on a trajectory to actually get to a place in New York State where maybe only a couple hundred people a year become infected with H-I-V. Which is an amazing accomplishment and one we don’t talk about enough,” says Barry.

Barry says syringe exchange programs, like the one run by STAP, have also significantly lowered the number of new infections.

Meanwhile, STAP continues to also offer programs for injection drug users as well as services for people with HIV.

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