Two clinics in East New York and Bushwick will provide young Brooklynites with new HIV prevention services, announced the NYC Health Department on Wednesday in recognition of National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
The clinics – at New York City Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health East New York and Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Bushwick – will offer teenagers and young adults ages 13 to 24 HIV prevention services, including HIV screening, and clinical services and outreach to young people who may benefit from pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a medication that reduces the risk of HIV infection.
“We are pleased to be able to empower young people of East New York, particularly adolescents who identify as LGBTQ, with these added services,” said Michelle Lewis, CEO of New York City Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health. “Thanks to the city’s support, our adolescent patients will have access to expanded HIV screening, treatment, prevention, and care coordination through the support of a dedicated social worker and other expert staff who understand their special needs.”
In 2018, the Health Department announced that 2,157 New Yorkers had been newly diagnosed with HIV in 2017, which marked a 5.4-percent decline from 2016 and down 64 percent from 2001 when HIV case reporting began in New York State. The number of young people newly diagnosed with HIV in NYC continues to decline, too; in 2017, 427 13- to 24-year-olds were newly diagnosed, down 35 percent from 2001.
To more effectively serve this population, the clinics offer co-located services, flexible appointment scheduling and extended walk-in capacity, and personalized communication, including by text message, the Health Department said.
Services at the new clinics include:
- Targeted outreach, including the use of traditional and digital media to reach young people who may benefit from PrEP, including LGBTQ youth.
- Assessment and education, including screening for PrEP awareness and candidacy, identifying young people’s psychosocial needs and building their capacity to make healthy decisions about their sexuality.
- Clinical services for PrEP and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), emergency medication for HIV-negative people who may have been exposed to HIV.
- Linkage and support services to assist young people initiate PrEP and remain engaged in care.
“PrEP is an effective tool that has helped to stop the transmission of HIV, and it should be accessible to our young people,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “These two new clinical sites will provide our city’s youth with resources that will encourage them to have safe and healthy sex lives.”