Casting Company Looking for Real People Living With HIV

March 23rd, 2017

GENUINE, a casting company, is casting a project featuring Real People with HIV, and they asked us to spread the word. They’re looking for real people who have been diagnosed with HIV to be featured in a Video and Print campaign. Those selected will be compensated.

If interested, fill out the online questionnaire at the link below ASAP to be considered:
It’s a nationwide search so please feel free to SHARE this information with anyone you think may be interested.

HVCS does not endorse nor receive compensation from GENUINE. We simply thought you might like to know!

Employee Spirit Day at HVCS: Go Green or Rainbow!

March 17th, 2017

On Friday, March 17, 2017–St. Patrick’s Day–HVCS held its first Employee Spirit Day of the year with a “Go Green or Rainbow!” theme. Staff who opted to participate came dressed in their Irish (for a day) best or in rainbow hues. Employees also donated to the “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow–raising funds for our new Employee Directed Fund. This new pool of contributions will be doled out by a committee made up entirely of staff members. The committee is currently gathering ideas for projects and programs that will directly and concretely help our clients and outreach contacts.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Free Buprenorphine Waiver Training Offered in Sullivan Co on May 6

March 8th, 2017

The NYSDOH, AIDS Institute is sponsoring a free buprenorphine waiver training for clinical providers in Monticello on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Breakfast will be provided.

In response to the opioid overdose deaths in New York State, increased access to buprenorphine treatment for opioid overdose disorder is urgently needed. Physicians, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants are welcome and highly encouraged to attend this training. Under current regulations, clinical providers are required to obtain a ‘waiver’ to prescribe buprenorphine. Physicians can acquire this waiver by attending and completing a standardized and required 8-hour training. This training is offered in a half-and-half format [4 hrs of online training followed up by 4 hrs of in-person training]. Upon completion, providers will meet the requirement of the DATA 2000 to be qualified to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid-dependent patients. NPs and PAs are required to complete an additional 16 hours of online training.

Register online today!

Trainers: Kelly Ramsey, MD, Hudson River HealthCare, Poughkeepsie, NY Sharon Stancliff, MD, Harm Reduction Coalition, New York, NY

Where: Ted Stroebele Recreation Center, 10 Jefferson St., Room 1, Monticello, NY 12701

Questions: NYSDOH, AIDS Institute, Office of Drug User Health Stephen Crowe, 212-417-4558, or Lyla Hunt, 518-473-7428,

Service Providers: Join Your Colleagues for “Health Cares” an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Conference

February 28th, 2017

Several Dutchess County providers are banding together to present “Health Cares: A Conference for Providers” on Friday, April 28, 2017 from 9 am to 3 pm at Vassar College. The conference will focus on the LGBTQ+ community and access to healthcare.

The keynote speaker will be Yonah EtShalom, a nurse practitioner. They are the founding program director for Transgender Health Services and they have long been an advocate for transgender health issues and public health education programs. The conference will also cover cultural competency,  trans experiences in healthcare, intimate partner violence, and barriers to health care.

There is no cost to attend, and lunch will be provided. Registration is required: contact Emily Berkowitz at:, or register online at:

The conference will be held in Ely Hall-Aula at Vassar College, 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie.

Thanks to Whole Foods for donating hot cocoa to our PRO program!

January 19th, 2017

Whole Foods donationOn January 18, 2017, Whole Foods in White Plains, NY donated a case of organic hot cocoa to our Project Reach Out (PRO) program. This is the perfect donation since the PRO team gets out there on the streets in all kinds of weather to talk to high-risk individuals about staying safe from HIV/AIDS. Many of PRO’s contacts are homeless or living in shelters. Thanks to Whole Foods, we can offer them a hot cup of cocoa while we meet with them inside our van. PRO provides HIV testing, information and referrals on PrEP, and referrals for substance abuse assistance.

Syringe Exchange Program Expands to Sullivan and Ulster Counties

December 7th, 2016

HVCS’ Syringe Exchange Program (SEP) is pleased to announced that it now serves Sullivan and Ulster counties, in addition to Dutchess and Orange. The New York State Department of Health’s Harm Reduction Unit recently approved our plan to expand our successful syringe exchange van program to Kingston and Monticello.

The discrete SEP van will be located in Kingston at Elmendorf Street between Broadway and Tremper Avenue on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:00 am to 12 noon and 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

The van will also operate in Monticello on Mondays and Fridays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm, but interested clients and referring agencies must call (845) 476-2190 OR (845) 234-5225 for location.

The SEP program has kept thousands of used syringes off of the streets and out of the Poughkeepsie and Newburgh communities thus far. Program staff regularly offer trainings on the overdose prevention drug Narcan/Naloxone, and have saved several lives. Staffers estimate that the clients they have trained to administer Narcan themselves revive between three and five overdosing peers each month.

For more information on SEP, please call (845) 476-2190 or (845) 234-5225.

New HIV Testing Ad Campaign to Launch Soon

December 7th, 2016

UnknownCampaign_AfrAmThe AIDS Institute is pleased to announce a new statewide media campaign to promote HIV testing.

The campaign message is:

Worst HIV Status: Unknown

Not testing leaves you in the dark.  Testing puts you in control.

The campaign includes materials in English and Spanish.  Key messages encourage people to talk with their health care provider about HIV testing and the campaign includes a link to the CDC HIV testing locator (  to help people find community-based testing options.

This campaign, developed in conjunction with Better World Advertising, will begin sometime in December or January and will feature the following:

  • Various digital ads and use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Google ads and others
  • Convenience store, hair/nail salon and bar ads
  • Transit ads, including bus shelters and subway ads
  • Other media

The campaign website, which is now active, is  The Spanish language website can be accessed by clicking on En Espanol at the top of the site.

“Testing All Queens” Gets Its Own Afterparty

November 29th, 2016

This just in! The Queens and Kings of New Paltz announced that their HVCS fundraiser, “Testing All Queens,” extends beyond the on-campus dinner and show this Saturday night with an official afterparty at Village Pizza! Join them for more shenanigans, $11 pies, and drink specials at this popular New Paltz hangout starting at 10:00 pm. Plus, there will be a surprise drag show at midnight so you get two shows in one night! $2 cover to benefit HVCS.

Testing All Queens Afterparty18 and up, 21 to drink. For more info on Testing All Queens see our previous post.

SUNY New Paltz Drag Club Presents “Testing All Queens!” on Dec 3

November 17th, 2016

Testing All Queens 2016SUNY New Paltz’ Queens & Kings of New Paltz, an on-campus drag club, presents the 2nd Annual “Testing All Queens!” drag show fundraiser on Saturday, December 3rd from 6:00 to 9:00 pm in the Student Union Building. This outrageously fun holiday-themed event features performances by future drag all-stars, dinner by Pasquale’s, DJ music by Dangerboy, and a guest speaker from Love Heals. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for non-students, all to benefit HVCS. Our Project INFORM team will be on hand with sexual health info, condoms, lube and other goodies, too.

Last year’s event was a ton of fun, and we were so inspired by these talented drag kings and queens that we wound up hiring them for our other drag events later in the year! This is one event you don’t want to miss!


CDC, NYS Recommend Meningococcal Vaccine for All HIV+ Individuals & Those At High-Risk

October 28th, 2016



The CDC and the New York State Department of Health says that people who are HIV+ or are high risk for becoming HIV+ are at increased risk for invasive meningococcal disease (IMD). They are recommending that adults who are HIV+, children older than 2 months who are HIV+, and those at high risk for new HIV infection (especially those who are good candidates for pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, which includes men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people) should get a meningococcal vaccine.

The vaccine is covered by Medicaid, ADAP and private insurance.

Invasive meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. The bacteria can invade the body causing serious illness, like meningitis. It can also cause septicemia—an infection of the bloodstream. Bacterial meningitis is very serious and can be deadly. Death can occur in as little as a few hours. While most people with meningitis recover, permanent disabilities such as brain damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities can result from the infection.

Detailed Information:

In response to epidemiological data indicating increased risk for certain sub-types of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) among people living with HIV, updated recommendations regarding meningococcal vaccination have been issued by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Specific vaccine recommendations are available for young children living with HIV, persons living with HIV and also persons at high risk for HIV infection, including people taking/ eligible for PrEP, including transgender individuals and MSM.

Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend that persons aged ≥ 2 months with HIV infection should receive meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) vaccine, either MenACWY-D (Menactra®), MenACWY-CRM (Menveo®) or, as age-appropriate, Hib-MenCY-TT (MenHibrix®, recommended for ages 2-18 months).1

This recommendation was made based on epidemiologic data demonstrating an increased risk of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) due to serogroups C, W and Y among HIV-infected persons in the United States.

HIV-infected persons have not been demonstrated to be at increased risk of serogroup B disease, and use of serogroup B (MenB) vaccine has not been studied in this group; for this reason MenB vaccine is not recommended for HIV-infected persons unless they have another indication for this vaccine.

HIV-infected individuals have suppressed immune responses to MenACWY vaccine, as well as waning of vaccine-induced immunity. For this reason, a multi-dose primary series and regular booster doses are necessary to maintain protection against IMD.

In response to the ACIP recommendations, the NYSDOH advises healthcare providers to administer MenACWY vaccine to:

  • All HIV-infected children and adults aged 2 months or older, and
  • HIV-negative individuals at ongoing high risk for HIV infection, to include
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM) who are candidates for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as described in the NYSDOH AIDS Institute Guidance for the Use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis to Prevent HIV Transmission”2 and Transgender individuals who are candidates for PrEP.

Vaccine costs and administration fees for HIV-positive individuals are reimbursable through the New York State Medicaid program and the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, as well as private insurance. MenACWY vaccine is covered under the Vaccines for Children (VFC) and Vaccines for Adults (VFA) programs for eligible children and adults.

MenACWY vaccine is also an allowable State Aid expense under Article 6 for LHDs unable to recoup the costs of vaccination through billing. Healthcare providers are reminded to report immediately both suspect and confirmed IMD cases to the LHD where the patient resides. Do not wait for laboratory confirmation to report. Contact information for LHDs can be found at

Healthcare providers are reminded to immediately report both suspect and confirmed IMD cases to the local health department where the patient resides.  Clinicians with questions regarding vaccine recommendations should contact the NYSDOH Bureau of Immunization at or 518-473-4437 or the AIDS Institute Office of the Medical Director at 212-417-4536.

Read the full announcement from the New York State Dept. of Health (PDF)