New York: Van to Provide Mobile HIV, STD Testing in North Country
September 20, 2011
Thanks to a new van, AIDS Community Resources is expanding the reach of its mobile HIV testing program to Jefferson County. ACR already has mobile units in Utica and Syracuse; Jefferson is reportedly seeing a growth in methamphetamine production, sale and use, so the need for prevention services there is great, said Executive Director Michael Crinnin.
Crinnin said drug users are especially vulnerable to high-risk sexual behaviors. This population tends to avoid public health facilities where HIV and other STD tests are offered, he noted.
The ACR van is discreet, with just a small sign on the door that says "Safety First Outreach Mobile Unit." It has a restroom for urine-based STD screenings. Rapid HIV testing is performed using finger-prick blood tests. A DVD player allows ACR staff to play educational videos for clients.
Drug users are just one of the populations to benefit from mobile testing units. Crinnin said one area college has already requested the van. "Last year [Jefferson Community College] asked us and of course we didn't have anything at the time," he said. "So school just started and we'll let them know now that we do have the capacity to do this."
The van, which will split its time between ACR's offices in Canton and Watertown, is being supported by a $24,500 grant and a 10-year, $40,000 loan from the US Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program, said Crinnin.
For more on ACR, visit www.aidscommunityresources.com.
09.15.2011; Joanna Richards
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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