New York state recorded 2,123 new HIV cases in 2021, marking a 37% decline since an effort began in the last decade to end the prevalence of new infections in the state. 

The effort, started under then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was meant to enact a multi-pronged plan to decrease HIV infections. Despite success since then, racial disparities continue to exist and prevent barriers to achieving more gains, Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Thursday. 

And despite the decrease since 2014, there was a slight rise in new HIV cases between 2020 and 2021 in New York. 

"While we've made significant progress to reduce HIV infections across New York, there is more work to be done to end the epidemic," Hochul said. "On World AIDS Day, we mourn those who we have lost, honor the New Yorkers fighting this disease, and recommit our efforts to ending this epidemic in our state once and for all."

New York recognized World AIDS Day on Thursday while also assessing the gains made in combatting the epidemic of cases that ravaged communities since the latter decades of the 20th century. 

State health officiasl released their annual report on HIV/AIDS cases in the state, showing the disease continues to wreak greater havoc in communities of color in New York. 

The effort to significantly reduce new infections includes expanding access to prescription medication and increasing viral load suppression. The overall goal is to reduce new infections by more than half in the coming years. 

Meanwhile, some lawmakers want to address how people with sexually transmitted infections are treated in the legal system.

Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas on Thursday signaled plans to end the criminalization of people with sexually transmitted infections who have sexual intercourse with another person, currently a misdemeanor offense. The proposal would also expunge prior convictions. 

Though prosecutions are rare under the current statute, González-Rojas said the existing law does little stem infections. New York would join 12 other states that either repealed or scaled back similar laws on the books.