Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Good/Bad News On AIDS In NYC

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | September 17, 2011 7:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Quote of the Day

"It's not that people are not infected. It is that they are taking medications, they're able to be more adherent, treatment has become easier. Many people who are not infected have what we call treatment optimism. Why bother using a condom? Why bother not having multiple partners? -- and people are still getting infected -- because of the success of the treatment."

--Dr. Monica Sweeney, assistant commissioner of the Bureau of H.I.V. Prevention and Control in the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, remarking on a 25% drop in the number of adults newly diagnosed with AIDS in NYC from 2010.

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Monica Sweeney is a fab of making sweeping pronouncements about the character of the HIV epidemic in NYC, but rarely if ever presents any research to back up her claims about why people continue to get infected. Perhaps it is because the NYC school system, in 2011 is just about to implement a comprehensive sex education curriculum? Is it because NYC has persistently would rather pay unscrupulous landlord exorbitant fees to run single resident occupancy hotels for people who are homeless, rather than creating affordable housing--research showing homelessness being a major predictor of HIV acquisition? Maybe its because the STD clinics are dirty, badly run, with long waits (I have a friend who once waited 6 hours for results--what the hell is the point of a 20-minute test if it takes hours to process?)and running "prevention" videos made in the 1990s in the waiting rooms? Perhaps people are still acquiring HIV because the Republicans in the state are blocking efforts to establish the health care exchanges mandated under Health Care reform, which would give more people access to healthcare?

Dr. Sweeney likes to point to what everyone else is not doing, I'd once like to hear her admit where the department has failed under her (lack of) leadership.

Forgive the typos. But as a NYC resident and activist I have become so sick of Dr. Sweeney's pointing to everybody else as the problem when DOHMH itself has a lot to be desired.