Posts Tagged ‘News’

POZ at Home – Coping With COVID-19 and HIV – Webinar

Monday, June 1st, 2020

POZ at Home – Coping With COVID-19 and HIV

Guests: Mark S. King, Venita Ray and Charles Sanchez

Hosted by Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr.

HIV+ People & Coronavirus: HVCS’ JanetLynn Remy-Decastro Interview

Thursday, March 19th, 2020

Are HIV-positive people at greater risk for COVID-19? One reporter from Spectrum News asked that question and contacted us for perspective. JanetLynn Remy-Decastro, one of our peers, sat down for a television news interview with reporter Dominic McKenzie. He also talked with Jennifer Deekens, an infectious disease nurse practitioner from Cornerstone Family Healthcare for the medical side of this issue.

Watch the piece here:




New Podcast Episode: STDs…the Truth Is Out There!

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

In this episode Steph, Naomi and Andy debunk a few of the myths about sexually transmitted diseases or STD’s. You don’t want to miss this one!

Subscribe for more episodes or listen to each one on Spotify, iTunes and other platforms!

HVCS Receives $22,000 From The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, In Partnership With Macy’s

Monday, March 25th, 2019

The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS FoundationHudson Valley Community Services has been awarded a grant for $22,000 from The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) in partnership with Macy’s. The grant will be used for HVCS’ Psychosocial Support Services (PSS) program, which is a unique vehicle to provide HIV-positive residents of Westchester, Putnam and Rockland with emotional and psychological support, support groups, and ensure they remain connected to care and community. Specifically, ETAF’s grant will fund art therapy and interactive journaling for the women’s support group. PSS began on March 1, 2019.

HVCS is honored to be recognized for our innovative approach in support of people affected by HIV and AIDS. “Hudson Valley Community Services is a powerful part of a collective effort to achieve an AIDS-free world, a world Elizabeth Taylor is still helping to realize through ETAF” said Catherine Brown, Executive Director of The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. “ETAF and Macy’s are honored to support HVCS with these funds to continue our aligned goals of health equity and zero discrimination for all people living with or at risk for HIV and AIDS.”

Through their Cause Marketing Program, Thanks For Sharing, Macy’s recognizes their responsibility to support disadvantaged communities and the needs of their neighbors. They are proud to partner with ETAF and have contributed to this grant.

The Psychosocial Support Services program’s main funder is the Ryan White CARE Act, Part A, administered by Public Health Solutions.

About The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF)
Founded in 1991, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) joins Elizabeth’s voice in the fight for social justice and human rights for people living with HIV and AIDS to achieve an AIDS-free world. Inspired by Elizabeth’s personal passion for the cause, in 2019 ETAF is focused on youth, women, children and families, ensuring they receive the direct care and support they need both domestically and in Malawi, the hotspot of the global epidemic. ETAF’s advocacy and awareness initiatives concentrate on elevating Elizabeth’s voice to secure care for the marginalized and social equity for all. To learn more or to make a donation please visit

The SNAP Gap

Monday, February 25th, 2019

The results of a food drive for our emergency food closetsSince continued funding was uncertain during the recent government shutdown, the SNAP program (Supplemental Nutrition Access Program, formerly known as food stamps) handed out February benefits in January. The caveat for recipients, however, was that they were expected to spread those benefits over six weeks instead of four–but for a hungry family, that can be a challenge. Now that the shutdown is over, clients may have gone through their SNAP funds already–and face a food shortage for the end of the month.

We weren’t about to sit back and let this happen, of course. HVCS is assisting clients in this situation through the food closet program. With support from generous donors, corporations and foundations, we’re offering our clients double the amount of food bags this month.

According to Hunger Solutions New York, which funds our Nutrition Outreach and Education Program, in March SNAP benefits will be issued early in order to assist SNAP participants to bridge the gap between the January payments and their regularly scheduled March benefits. All March SNAP benefits will be issued by March 7th.

We are committed to ensuring that clients and their families have enough nutritious food to eat no matter what happens in Washington.

Project Reach Out Now Offering STD Screenings

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

Project Reach Out vanAs of February 1, 2019, our Project Reach Out mobile harm reduction units will also be offering free screenings for chlamydia and gonorrhea. The PRO staff, who travel in vans to areas of high need throughout the Hudson Valley, work primarily with people who are homeless or in unstable housing, and help them access the services they need to reduce the harm of drug use and their risk for HIV, Hepatitis C and STDs.

“We’re eager to offer these expanded services to PRO clients,” said Jennifer Brathwaite, HVCS’ Director of Education and Prevention. “These are two more ways we can help people with really high levels of need access care. Getting a free STD test can be an important step in empowering someone to protect their health, especially since these two STDs can often be asymptomatic. This testing program helps not only our clients but reduces the overall amount of STDs in our community.”

Chlamydia and gonorrhea infection rates in New York State have increased every year since 2013. Infection rates among African-Americans are disproportionately high, making up 23% of chlamydia rates and 33% of gonorrhea cases in 2017. These statistics further support the need for expanded STD testing in the vulnerable neighborhoods where PRO typically offers services.

Click here to learn more about our Project Reach Out program.

Press from HVCS’ International Overdose Awareness Day Event

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018
HVCS' Overdose Awareness Day

Devan Marano shares her personal story at the Overdose Awareness Day observance in Newburgh.

On Friday, August 31, 2018, Hudson Valley Community Services partnered with Catholic Charities’ TEAM Newburgh to hold a local observance of International Overdose Awareness Day in front of HVCS’ Newburgh office.

International Overdose Awareness Day is an annual global event held on August 31st which aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. International Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable.

The opioid/heroin addiction crisis has had a profound impact on the Hudson Valley over the past few years. In 2016, 367 residents died from opioid overdoses according to the New York State Heroin and Opioid Task Force, and available data on the first three quarters of 2017 suggests similar totals for last year. The epidemic has had a lasting impact on friends, families and neighborhoods—not to mention those who struggle with addiction. HVCS, other healthcare and social support agencies, law enforcement, and local governments have committed resources to prevent overdose deaths, increase the number of residents who seek help for their addiction disorders, and stem the tide of this epidemic. This event was an opportunity to honor and remember those we have lost to addiction disorders via overdose, and continue to educate the community on available resources.

The Hudson Valley’s International Overdose Awareness Day event featured a forum for personal experience speakers, Narcan trainings, educational opportunities, tributes to those lost to overdose, a social media awareness wall, activities to engage children and youth, and free snacks.

Check out local press coverage of the event:

Spectrum News:

Times Herald Record: Story ( and slide show (

HVCS Joins the CBHS Independent Practice Association

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Hudson Valley Community Services is excited to announce that we have joined Coordinated Behavioral Health Services (CBHS), an Independent Practice Association (IPA). CBHS is an association of Hudson Valley providers which negotiates contracts for services directly with Managed Care Organizations (MCOs). (In case you’re unfamiliar with that term, an MCO is a health insurance company like MVP or Fidelis).

Joining an IPA will potentially allow us to reach more clients and tap into additional revenue streams not available to us otherwise. Participating in an IPA also gives us a lot more visibility within the community and strengthens our connections. Finally, IPA membership will offer us new training opportunities.

“As healthcare systems become more and more aware of how a patient’s home, life and social networks fit into their healthcare, they’re turning to agencies like HVCS,” said Andrea Straus, HVCS’ Executive Director. “We call these factors the ‘social determinants of health.’ Joining CBHS enables us to remain competitive and help more clients reach their full potential.”

Stay tuned for more information as our collaboration with the other members within the CBHS association develops over time.

Kingston Open House

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

You’re invited to an open house to celebrate our move to a new Kingston office! Our Kingston office has combined with our Lake Katrine office into one beautiful, bright new space. Please join us on Thursday, April 12, 2018 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm for an open house. We’ll have light refreshments, beverages and a very special dessert buffet. Drop in any time between 4:00 and 6:00 pm for a tour and to learn more about our services in Ulster County.

Kingston Open House April 12

Our new Ulster County office is located across the parking lot from our old location, at 144 Pine Street, Suite 230.

Please RSVP to Christina at (845) 339-3281 or by email.

ICYMI: Spectrum News featured HVCS in its World AIDS Day coverage

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Watch Spectrum News’ video interview with our J. Dewey here.

From the article:

“Ending the HIV epidemic across the state is a collaborative effort, and recent data statewide and in the Hudson Valley indicates that progess is being made.

“The work in order to be responsive as you saw in the data is a complement of our partnerships between city between state between elected officials and our community stakeholders,” said Johanne Morne, director of the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute.

The department of health held a summit on Wednesday in Albany to connect those involved in combating the epidemic with new information and resources. Morne says that working with communities and identifying needs, as well as understanding social and structural challenges and barriers for different communities, is a major part of their work.

“It’s our responsibility, as I talked about, for us to look for those opportunities not only to provide access to care, but to be sure we create environments that are welcoming and responsive to the people who most need access to prevention and healthcare support,” said Morne.

In the Hudson Valley, providing that access to care falls to many organizations, including Hudson Valley Community Services. In the mid-Hudson region, the trends for new HIV infections are hopeful.

“The news for HIV infections in the Hudson Valley is that the rate of infection is finally going down,” said J. Dewey, public relations & resource enhancement director for Hudson Valley Community Services.”

Thanks to reporter Orie Givens for reaching out to us.