Posts Tagged ‘testing’

Discretely Request Free HIV, STD and Hep C Testing With Our New Online Form

Friday, July 22nd, 2022
Young man looking at oral HIV test swab on a bed.

HVCS has offered free HIV, STD (STI), and hepatitis C testing for decades. To set up your free tests, all you have to do is contact us!

We offer testing at our offices, at various health fairs and public events across the Hudson Valley, or, if necessary, your home. If that’s not an option, we will meet you in a safe, confidential (mutually agreed upon) space.

Start by providing a few details on our new online request form so we know how best to serve you. Find the form here.

New Podcast Episode Video: PTSD & Sexual Assault

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

 

HVCS’ Andy Reid, Shakira Williams and Pat Ocasio talk with Prof. Sarah Espinosa, who teaches psychology at NYU, about the links between PTSD and sexual assault. This is part of our podcast series on sexual health. Learn more about our Women’s Services Program and our free STI (sexually transmitted infection) testing program.

Sexual Health In The Age of Coronavirus: Video Message

Monday, April 6th, 2020

Staying safe doesn’t end with social distancing: we still need to keep our sexual health in mind during the COVID-19 crisis. HVCS is here for you.

Andy Reid is one of our Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Testers.

View his other video message here.

New Podcast Episode: Testing for STDs: What You Need to Know

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

Peer Health Alliance Podcast

In this episode of the PHA (Peer Health Alliance) Podcast, the team discusses all you need to know about getting tested for HIV, Hep C and other Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Listen and subscribe on iTunes and Spotify.

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.

HVCS Creates New STD Testing Position

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Get Tested!Hudson Valley Community Services has responded to the sharp increase in STD infection rates in our area by creating a new staff position dedicated to STD testing. For the first time in our history, we will be able to provide free sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing to anyone who needs it.

Previously we were funded only to provide STD testing to those at high risk or those were had a possible exposure.

“We want to empower everyone to take control of their sexual health,” said HVCS’ Education and Prevention Director, Jennifer Brathwaite. “Our new STD tester allows us to serve more people and connect them to the healthcare and social resources they need.”

We offer urine tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea, and a blood draw for syphilis, with results in two to seven days. For hepatitis C (and HIV), we perform a finger stick with results available within 20 minutes.

Two common reasons given for the recent rise in STD rates are the widespread use of dating apps, and the advent of PrEP (daily treatment to prevent HIV). Those on PrEP may decide not to use condoms as frequently. Condoms prevent some STDs but not all.

To find out more or to get tested, call Stephanie at (914) 785-8261.

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.

 

Donations Needed for HIV Testing Programs

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

HVCS isn’t afraid to have tough conversations. We shine a light on problems that thrive in the darkness. That’s only one of the tools we can use to bring new HIV infections to zero because of the support we have received from people like you. You have also inspired us to be the strongest of advocates in preventing HIV/AIDS.  That is why we would like to share with you Louis’ story.

Louis is twenty-four, has one more year of grad school, identifies as gay and is, by all outward appearances, happy and successful. Yet sometimes he doesn’t feel like he’s got it all together—he copes with low self-esteem and anxiety. He has a supportive family but feels like he’s not attractive or smart enough and worries about the future. Sometimes in social situations he relies on “liquid courage”—he has a few drinks. He wants a long-term commitment (and, one day, a husband) but knows that as a young gay man he’s at higher risk for HIV infection. The things he did to feel better about himself, like going out and drinking, only made things worse. “It felt like the odds were stacked against me,” he said. “I felt pretty hopeless and scared.”

Until he came in for a free HIV test offered our INFORM program, which specializes in HIV prevention for men who have sex with men.  The INFORM specialist told him that he could diminish his fear of contracting HIV by going on PrEP. The specialist connected him to a medical provider and worked out insurance coverage. He also referred Louis to a counselor to address his self esteem, supplied him with condoms, and discussed strategies for having a good time at parties without risking his health. “Now I always go with friends, and we make a pact to watch out for each other.” Louis feels more in control and  less anxious about the future now that he’s equipped with more tools to stay healthy. By helping us to activate an entire network of supports—from his doctor to his friends to his therapist—you’re helping Louis stay as healthy as possible while staying true to his dreams and goals.

We know you share our belief that a thriving Hudson Valley is made up of residents who are living their full potential: healthy, active and enjoying all the wonderful things that make this a great place to live. But even with nearly forty years of studying how and why HIV is transmitted, Hudson Valley residents are still being infected with HIV. So we still need your help.  Those who were at the highest risk decades ago are still at high risk because most people have a tough time talking about sexuality, desire, substance abuse, and race.  This silence, combined with entrenched stigma against those with AIDS, allows HIV to spread through our communities—communities we need to stay healthy and strong if we’re to be a vibrant, colorful Hudson Valley.

What if Louis hadn’t come to us for a free HIV test? Though we believe that HIV testing is an opportunity to educate and engage people at high risk for HIV, government contracts don’t cover the full cost of offering those HIV tests for free. Our prevention programs are now operating in the red–and we may be forced to conduct fewer tests.

So we invite you to join us once again in keeping HIV prevention in the conversation. Your contribution means we can keep our HIV prevention programs strong. So please continue to help us build healthy communities right here in the Hudson Valley. Preventing the spread of HIV now means that more people can live their full potential.

Please give today.