Up in Harlem: Resources
New York's Harlem, like most communities of color, generally falls under the heading of "underserved communities" when the subject is HIV and AIDS. That label is accurate, as far as it goes, but "underserved" doesn't mean "unserved." There are a lot of agencies, old and new, large and small, in and around Harlem working to provide the prevention, treatment, and support services so vital to the community. A word of warning: The world of funding for HIV/AIDS services, whether public or private, is treacherous. As a result, agencies come and go and the programs they can offer change as the money to run them is awarded or taken away. Because of this constantly changing program landscape, no listing of resources can be considered truly comprehensive or remain up to date for very long.
If you are looking for a specific service or for an agency in a particular geographic location, the most current information about who's doing what at any given time may be available through one of the networks of agencies serving the community:
Central Harlem HIV Care Network
204 West 1365h Street
New York, NY 10030
voice: (212) 926-8000
fax: (212) 283-4948
East Harlem HIV Care Network
Harlem Directors' Group
Some agencies concentrate on specific needs or tailor their services to specific populations.
African Services Committee
This agency targets its services specifically to immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean. Since the majority of HIV-positive individuals from these areas are infected with a subtype of the virus that is different from that infecting most North American natives, the agency's testing center not only tests for HIV (along with TB and other STDs), but offers "subtype" or "diversity testing" to determine the strain of HIV infecting an individual, a piece of information with important implications for treatment and viral load testing. The African Services Committee also runs a prevention education program; provides housing under a HOPWA grant; provides medical interpreters and escorts; advocates on behalf of its client population; and offers a wide variety of case management and support services.
Provides services to the Dominican community.
Association for Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment, Inc. (ADAPT)
Community Association of Progressive Dominicans
Community Law Offices of the Legal Aid Society
This Legal Aid office offers a wide range of legal services of importance to people with HIV, including housing and employment discrimination matters, child custody, permanency planning, etc.
Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD)
This agency offers a wide variety of health and social services for its target population, including general and HIV-specific support groups, recreational activities, services for men over 50 years old, risk reduction counseling, a testing and counseling program, and outreach and condom distribution at the Mt. Morris bathhouse.
Harlem Dowling Westside Center for Children and Family Services
Harlem Dowling provides a full menu of services for children and their families, including general foster care, a kinship program, an independent living skills unit, a mother/baby program, adoption, and post-adoption services.
Iris House's services are tailored to the special needs of HIV-positive women. They include nutrition services (cooking classes, exercise classes, nutrition counseling, body massage); COBRA case management; scattered-site housing (66-family units in Harlem); women's support groups (mental health, women over age 50, anger management, Narcotics Anonymous, and others). The Second Avenue location provides prevention case management, peer education, and legal services. Nutrition counseling at the East Side location is also open to men. All services are available in Spanish and English.
New York Harm Reduction Educators, Inc.
Despite the Bronx address, New York Harm Reduction Educators offers its services widely to the Harlem community. As the name implies, its focus is providing services to individuals with current or recent problems with substance and alcohol abuse from a harm reduction perspective. It offers syringe exchange; case management; "sidewalk psychotherapy"; case-management; acupuncture; legal assistance; other services.
Substance abuse services.
Reality House is a substance abuse and HIV treatment and prevention center providing outpatient services to the Harlem community. Its services include HIV treatment and prevention, testing, pre- and post-test counseling, education and prevention, combined care for HIV-positive substance abusers, peer education, harm reduction, primary care, domestic violence counseling, partner notification, and bereavement counseling.
There are many agencies in and around Harlem that offer more general services to HIV-positive members of the community. Again, service menus change frequently, and it is best to check before visiting the agency to be sure it offers what you are looking for.
Boriken Health Center
Central Harlem STD Clinic New York City Department of Health
Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement
Harlem United: Community Aids Center
Inwood Community Services, Inc.
Metropolitan Hospital Infectious Diseases Clinic
Minority Task Force on AIDS
North General Hospital AIDS Center
St. Luke A.M.E. Church Good Samaritan HIV/AIDS Ministry
St. Luke's Morningside Clinic
Union Settlement Association
VIDA Family Services
William F. Ryan Community Health Center
This article was provided by Body Positive. It is a part of the publication Body Positive.