Supporters of a movement to change New York State's laws regarding minors seeking HIV treatment hope to have Governor Cuomo's proposed legislation before state lawmakers by June.
Current New York State law prevents teens from getting HIV treatment or prevention medication without a parent's consent. Cuomo's proposed legislation would lift the required consent.
Supporters of dropping mandatory parental consent say it will create a more comfortable setting for teens struggling with their sexuality or health status.
"For some HIV-positive people, that identity is linked to an identity that their parents may or may not be aware of, and that puts young people who may find that they may have become HIV-positive in an awkward position," said Matthew Crehan Higgins, Senior Director of Pride Center of Western New York. "It could even cause them to delay treatment, which is detrimental to their health and also to the health of other people that they may have contact with."
It's a move that the governor hopes will bring his End the Epidemic Task Force closer to reaching a goal of lowering new HIV cases to fewer than 750 per year by the year 2020. About two to three years ago, the number of new cases was around 3,000. That's a drop from the estimated 15,000 new cases per year in the late 1980s and early 1990s.