AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will open its newest Men's Wellness Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday in partnership with local nonprofit Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD). The AHF Brooklyn Men's Wellness Center is located in the GMAD facility at 44 Court St., Suite 1000; Brooklyn, NY 11201 and is open on Wednesdays from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. Walk-ins are welcome. More information can be found at www.freeSTDcheck.org or by calling (718) 222-6300.
The Men's Wellness Center is designed to make testing for STD's accessible, convenient and affordable, as well as to encourage regular sexual health screenings as part of routine health care for all sexually active people. Services offered include: free screening and treatment for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis, and free HIV testing. AHF and GMAD are also working to offer screenings, vaccinations, and education on meningitis at the new clinic.
"As a relatively new provider in the New York public health system, AHF is excited to be partnering with such an established organization as GMAD to tackle an issue that has impacted New York City, especially the black gay population," said Michael Camacho, AHF's NYC Regional Director. "We hope this new opportunity for testing, treatment, and education will be particularly beneficial for people who are living with a manageable condition like HIV but are out of care."
According to Vaughn Taylor, Executive Director of GMAD, the group has been coordinating a partnership with AHF since the opening of AHF's first Brooklyn facility - an Out of the Closet Thrift Store where sales fund global HIV/AIDS care and where free HIV testing is available for walk-ins - in April 2013. Taylor said that previous collaborations have included work with the New York City Health Department and with local community health centers, but this is the first comprehensive partnership where another entity will be housed in and providing services from GMAD headquarters.
"This is one of the better opportunities to connect community resources with community needs that is very competent and compassion-driven," Taylor said of the new clinic. "I have this fantasy of bringing back mobile [HIV testing] units and reintroducing the house call to the community. I've heard about how effective that has been for AHF in Florida and it's something that I think could happen here."
According to the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, there were 3,481 new HIV cases in 2010 throughout New York City's five boroughs. There were also 63,544 new Chlamydia cases, 12,354 Gonorrhea cases, and 955 new syphilis cases, according to the report. The department reports that, in Brooklyn, the neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Williamsburg and Bushwick carried the highest rates of co-occurrence of STD diagnoses (which included new cases of hepatitis B and C and tuberculosis in addition to HIV, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis). The Bedford-Stuyvesant area has historically had a large black community, and according to the 2009 American Community Survey the area's population was 82% black, making it the largest African-American community in the United States at that time.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)