AIDS-Related Deaths in New York City At Record Low
February 11, 2008—New York City’s death rate reached a record low in 2006 partly due to a decrease in AIDS-related deaths, according to the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The total number of deaths fell to 55,391 in 2006, from 57,068 one year earlier. AIDS-related deaths decreased 15 percent during the same period, from 1,419 to 1,209 .
Despite the overall decrease, AIDS-related deaths continue to have a disproportionate impact on African-American New Yorkers and illustrate ongoing health disparities among the city’s population. In 2006, 34 percent of AIDS-related deaths in New York were among black men, 21 percent among black women, 11 percent among white men, and 3 percent among white women. (The remaining percentage is comprised of people of other ethnicities).
Because people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in New York City are living longer, they may experience a host of complex medical conditions and treatment side effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of PLWHA aged 50 or older increased 77 percent between 2001 and 2005, and now represent a quarter of all cases in the U.S.. As the HIV/AIDS population grows older, AIDS becomes a chronic condition to be managed with other health problems associated with advanced age, such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and cancer. The interaction between AIDS and other chronic diseases should thus remain an important area of research in the U.S.
Unfortunately, while overall AIDS-related mortality in New York City is decreasing, in 2006 city officials reported an upsurge in new HIV cases among young men who have sex with men (MSM). According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, HIV diagnoses increased by 32 percent among MSM aged 30 or younger in the city. These new cases are concentrated among young MSM of color: Statistics show a 34 percent increase in new HIV diagnoses among black and Latino MSM between 2001 and 2006.
However, in the federal government’s FY 08 appropriations bill passed in December 2007, the budget for the CDC’s HIV/STD prevention and surveillance programs was decreased by $6 million. These budget cuts will impede HIV prevention efforts targeted at vulnerable groups such as MSM of color in New York City and nationwide.
 New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Public Health in New York City 2004-2006—Triennial Report. Available here.
 Gross, J. AIDS Patients Face Downside of Living Longer. New York Times. January 6, 2008. Available here.