Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship Program is an Important Step Toward Ending AIDS in New York State by 2020

For Immediate Release
January 3, 2017
Contact: Jason Cianciotto I 347-703-3865 I

New York, NY — Today Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled his groundbreaking Excelsior Scholarship program, which would make college tuition-free at all New York City and State University two- and four-year programs for an estimated 940,000 households with college-age children.

“Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship program is a critical step toward increasing access to higher education and improving the earning potential and lives of thousands of New Yorkers,” said Jacquelyn Kilmer, CEO of Harlem United. “We know that lack of education and poverty are two structural drivers of many chronic health conditions, including HIV and AIDS. This innovative program will help break the cycle of poverty and will be an important step toward achieving Governor Cuomo’s goal of ending the AIDS epidemic in New York State by 2020.”

According to the CDC, men who have sex with men (MSM) who have at least some college education are far less likely to be HIV positive and far more likely to know their HIV status.* Additional research has found that MSM living with HIV who attend college are also more likely to achieve the viral suppression necessary to keep them healthy and to prevent them from passing the virus to others.**

*Data on HIV among Men Who Have Sex With Men and Educational Achievement
(CDC HIV Surveillance Special Report 15, January 2016)




**More information about educational achievement and viral suppression is available at


Founded in 1988, Harlem United is a nationally recognized human services organization that provides full access to integrated health care and social services for individuals experiencing multiple and complex issues, including  HIV and AIDS, social stigma, mental illness, chronic substance and alcohol use, homelessness, and extreme poverty — regardless of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression.