The New York City Department of Health has released a new study that shows new HIV diagnoses have dropped to the lowest rate in the city’s history.
The report shows that 2,279 people were diagnosed with the virus in 2016, down 8.6% from 2015.
The department first began tracking HIV statistics in 2001 which saw 5,906 new infections.
Researchers credit the decline in great part to the spread of preventative drug PrEP. The drug is available for low or no cost at the city’s eight health clinics.
At the beginning of 2016 only 5% of men having sex with men were using the drug. But by the end of the year, that figure jumped to 30%.
“The technology has landed, and implementation is moving quickly,” Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the Health Department’s Deputy Commissioner for Disease Control, told Jezebel. “Finally we’re seeing that the curve of decline is statistically significant. I think this is a harbinger of really good things to come.”
It’s not all good news though. The report also showed a slight increase in new diagnoses for women, particularly black and Latina women.
Daskalakis told Jezebel, “We’re going to really energize our next campaign to be very, very women focused. We need to better with women, and so we will.”