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Efforts To Curb HIV Infections Pay Off In Connecticut

Lai Seng Sin

Connecticut has seen fewer new HIV cases in recent years. That puts the state on par with New York, which announced it is on track to ending the AIDS epidemic in the state by 2020.

Dr. Lynn Sosa, Connecticut’s deputy state epidemiologist, says preventative drugs, public information campaigns and mandatory regular screenings have played crucial roles in reducing HIV.

“It is kind of a no-brainer. Everybody gets a test, without having to ask for it. And then also making sure that we are implementing standardized medical care for all people living with HIV, we feel we can get to zero in Connecticut as well.”

Dante Gennaro is an HIV prevention program specialist at Connecticut’s Department of Public Health, who was diagnosed with HIV in 2012.

Gennaro says the largest hurdle to living with the virus continues to be breaking the stigma.

“To me, we are talking about health. We are talking about educating our youth to keep them safe and knowledgeable about making educated choices in their future, and I think having that stigma pertaining to these sore topics is dangerous.” 

There are 10,500 people living with HIV in the state, and nearly twice that number are at-risk of contracting the virus.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.