HIV/STD/HCV Prevention and Related Services

Regional Prevention and Support Programs

The AIDS Institute established the Regional Prevention and Support Programs (formerly the Community Service Programs or CSPs) in 1984 to serve as the first community-based organizations dedicated to providing HIV/STI/hepatitis prevention and client support services.

Regional Prevention and Support Programs (RPSS) support a high impact approach to prevention and support services to achieve Ending the Epidemic initiative goals. Funding supports programs that provide a comprehensive range of HIV/STI/HCV prevention interventions and related services to individuals who engage in high risk behaviors and persons living with HIV. Funding also ensures organizational viability and maintains a regional structure for collaboration across sectors and the provision of HIV/STI/HCV prevention, support and health care services.

This important core funding is intended to be a foundation to strengthen the agency and the region’s capacity to build and expand HIV/STI/HCV related programming across New York State (NYS).  The 14 RPSS providers play a significant role in the implementation of AIDS Institute and Division of HIV/STI/HCV Prevention priorities and are critical partners in accomplishing Ending the Epidemic goals in NYS.   

Funding allows for the provision of:

  • Targeted client recruitment/engagement;
  • Targeted HIV testing and linkage to care services;
  • Behavioral counseling;
  • STI/HCV screening and linkage to care;
  • Effective interventions for HIV-positive persons, their partners, and HIV-negative persons who engage in high risk behaviors;
  • Harm reduction services;
  • Linkage and navigation to care;
  • PrEP/PEP education, screening and support;
  • Condom promotion, education and distribution to HIV-positive persons, their partners, and HIV-negative persons who engage in high risk behaviors;
  • Treatment adherence; and
  • Other supportive services (e.g., mental health, transportation, nutrition).

Prevention interventions and client services are provided in community and criminal justice settings and address the prevention and support needs of HIV-positive persons as well as individuals at highest risk for HIV/STI/HCV, including men who have sex with men, young men of color who have sex with men, substance users, heterosexual men and women who engage in high-risk behaviors, and transgender men and women.  All services consider the unique social and cultural needs of populations served.

The expected outcomes are reduced disease incidence, decreased rate of HIV/STI/HCV transmission, decreased high-risk behaviors among HIV-positive and at-risk persons; increased proportion of HIV/STI/HCV-positive individuals who are aware of their status, and increased proportion of HIV-positive persons who are linked to prevention, partner services, and treatment/medical care.

Contact

Nkechi Oguagha
Director, Office of Population Health and Prevention Programs
Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention
(212) 417-4707
nkechi.oguagha@health.ny.gov

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Targeted Prevention and Support Programs

The AIDS Institute established the Targeted Prevention and Support Programs {formerly known as the Multiple Service Agency (MSA) Initiative} in 1992. The goal of the initiative is to provide the opportunity for community-based organizations serving high-need communities of color to expand their service capacity to provide effective HIV, STI, and hepatitis C (HCV) prevention interventions and ensure HIV-positive individuals are engaged in care and are supported.
This initiative supports a high impact approach to prevention and support services to achieve Ending the Epidemic initiative goals. Funding supports programs that provide a targeted HIV/STI/HCV prevention interventions and related services to individuals who engage in high risk behaviors and persons living with HIV.

Funded interventions and activities seek to decrease the spread of HIV/STI/HCV through the provision of interventions and services that focus high impact prevention efforts in communities where HIV is most heavily concentrated; expand targeted efforts to prevent HIV transmission using a combination of effective, evidence-based approaches; educate and raise awareness about HIV-related issues, including prevention, transmission, health disparities, and stigma/discrimination; and integrate STI and HCV screening/testing, referrals and education within HIV programming. Services are delivered in community or criminal justice settings and take into consideration the unique social and cultural needs of populations served.

Prevention interventions and client services are targeted to individuals at highest risk for HIV/STI/HCV, including men who have sex with men, young men of color who have sex with men, substance users, heterosexual men and women who engage in high-risk behaviors, and transgender men and women. Services may include:

  • Targeted client recruitment/engagement;
  • Targeted HIV testing and linkage to care services;
  • STI/HCV screening and linkage to care;
  • Harm reduction services;
  • Effective behavioral interventions for HIV-negative persons who engage in high risk behaviors and persons who are HIV positive;
  • Navigation and linkage to care;
  • PrEP/PEP education, screening and support; and
  • Condom education, promotion, and distribution

The expected outcomes are reduced disease incidence, decreased rate of HIV/STI/HCV transmission, decreased high-risk behaviors among HIV-positive and at-risk persons, increased proportion of HIV/STI/HCV-positive individuals who are aware of their status, and increased proportion of HIV/STI/HCV-positive persons who are linked to prevention, partner services and treatment/medical care.

Contact

Nkechi Oguagha
Director, Office of Population Health and Prevention Programs
Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention
(212) 417-4707
nkechi.oguagha@health.ny.gov

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Criminal Justice Initiative

The Criminal Justice Initiative (CJI) is house in the Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) and supports the implementation of peer training, education and support, anonymous HIV testing and other prevention and support services for individuals residing in NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (NYSDOCCS) correctional facilities and prioritizes the provision of HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) linkage and navigation services for individuals within, as well as those who are recently released /discharged from a correctional facility.

The primary goals are to:

  • Improve the overall coordination and linkage among criminal justice, public health, and community based agencies to address health and health care access for the reentry population;
  • Facilitate prompt access to medical care and support services for incarcerated individuals and reentrants living with HIV and/or diagnosed with HCV at any point during incarceration and up to six months following release/discharge to the community;
  • Strengthen self-management skills and motivate incarcerated individuals and reentrants living with HIV and/or diagnosed with HVC and people who engage in high risk behaviors to identify and apply personal strengths and self-advocacy skills needed to achieve optimal health outcomes;
  • Offer HIV/STI/HCV peer education, training and support in NYSDOCCS correctional facilities;
  • Increase awareness about treatment as prevention for incarcerated individuals living with HIV and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)/post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for those at high risk for HIV infection;
  • Incorporate STI and HCV education and assist with linkage to STI and HCV screening and treatment;
  • Enhance existing NYSDOCCS HIV testing efforts to increase the number of undiagnosed persons who know their HIV status and are promptly linked to care; and
  • Integrate tailored stigma and discrimination reduction messaging in NYSDOCCS correctional facilities.

Services include recruitment and engagement, in-facility and community based linkage and navigation for persons living with HIV and/or diagnosed with HCV, peer education, training, and support, trauma informed interventions, anonymous HIV testing, and condom promotion, education, and/or distribution.

The CJI also supports the Prison HIV/STI/HCV Hotline. This hotline offers individuals who are incarcerated in State correctional facilities the opportunity to call collect for HIV/STI/HCV information and counseling. The hotline is also a clearinghouse for HIV/STI/HCV-related information and provide linkage and navigation services for incarcerated persons living with HIV and/or diagnosed with HCV upon release.

NYS DOH staff work collaboratively with NYS DOCCS staff to achieve initiative goals. 

Contacts:

Bethsabet de León Stevens
Associate Division Director
Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention
(518) 486-1412
bethsabet.deleon-stevens@health.ny.gov

Rick Cook
Director, Office of Criminal Justice Services
Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention Services
(518) 473-7258
rick.cook@health.ny.gov

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Prevention and Related Services for Women

Women, particularly women of color, remain a group significantly impacted by HIV.  However, the extent to which HIV is a priority in women’s lives is often dictated by the challenges they face daily.  Concerns regarding HIV/STI/HCV are often secondary to other life issues that many women experience including, but not limited to child care, housing, employment, education, and access to necessary entitlements.  Socioeconomic, cultural and gender barriers can also limit the ability of some women to reduce behavioral risk associated with HIV as well as challenges in accessing culturally appropriate health care and information.  Additionally, for many women, stigma around accessing health services still exists so they do not routinely seek health care and prevention services.

The goal of the HIV/STI/HCV Prevention and Related Services for Women Initiative is to facilitate greater access to HIV/STI/HCV prevention services by HIV-positive women and women who engage in behaviors that put them at risk for HIV/STI/HCV. 

Program designs incorporate comprehensive, gender responsive services designed to address the unique issues that women face to increase their ability to initiate and sustain behavior change to reduce risk of HIV/STIs/HCV.

The purpose of this funding is to identify service providers to develop and/or enhance comprehensive HIV/STI/HCV programs through the implementation of proven high impact prevention strategies and innovative interventions for HIV-positive women and women who engage in high risk behaviors with a focus on women of color.

The overall goals are to:

  • Prevent new HIV/STI/HCV infections;
  • Increase HIV/STI/HCV testing and screening services so that an increased number of women know their HIV/STI/HCV status; 
  • Identify HIV/STI/HCV-positive individuals and ensure access to early, high quality medical care and prevention services;
  • Increase access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and risk reduction services;
  • Facilitate access to prevention services including PrEP linkage and support services; and
  • Facilitate access to essential supportive services.

Contact:

Dayna Griles-Brown
Director, Women's Services Unit
Office of Population Health and Prevention Programs
Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention Services
(212) 417-4696
dayna.griles@health.ny.gov

School-Based HIV Prevention Education

The AIDS Institute and the New York State Education Department, through a Memorandum of Understanding, collaborate to:

  • Provide training opportunities and follow-up technical assistance for education professionals, including those who work with adolescents, elementary school children, and special populations including incarcerated youth, youth in alternative situations, youth who utilize special education, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and/or questioning youth, and pregnant and parenting youth;
  • Establish a system for continual review of HIV/AIDS prevention education materials;
  • Provide training opportunities that develop and enhance partnerships with traditional and non-traditional partners to promote effective policies and programming, i.e. community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, higher education, school nurses, and school boards of education;
  • Develop and market strategies to develop and promote healthy youth development norms using youth development, supportive learning environments and coordinated school health approaches; and
  • Design and/or identify effective training models, modules, and agendas for HIV and STI prevention and HIV/STI-related education within a youth development framework.

Contact:

Janice Williams
Office of Population Health and Prevention Programs
Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention Services
(212) 417-4704
janice.williams@health.ny.gov

HIV/STI/HCV Prevention & Related Services for Young Gay Men/Young Men Who have Sex with Men (MSM)

This initiative supports programs that provide a comprehensive range of HIV/STI/HCV prevention interventions and related services to Young Gay Men and Young Men who have Sex with Men (YMSM) with a focus on communities of color.  The overall goals are to:  

  • Prevent new HIV/STI/HCV infections;
  • Increase HIV/STI/HCV testing and screening services;
  • Increase the number of Young Gay Men and YMSM who know their HIV/STI/HCV status;
  • Identify HIV/STI/HCV-positive individuals and ensure access to early, high quality medical care and prevention services;
  • Increase access to comprehensive sexual health information;
  • Facilitate access to prevention services including PrEP linkage and support services; and;
  • Facilitate access to essential supportive services.

Funded services include HIV, STI testing and hepatitis C screening, linkage and navigation services for HIV-positive YMSM and YMSM who engage in behaviors that put them at risk for HIV, PrEP support programs, condom promotion, education and distribution, social media and social marketing, and evidence-based interventions.

Contact:

Nkechi Oguagha
Director, Office of Population Health and Prevention Programs
Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention
(212) 417-4707
nkechi.oguagha@health.ny.gov

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Communities of Color

The Communities of Color initiative provides comprehensive HIV/STI/HCV programs through implementation of high impact prevention strategies and innovative interventions for HIV-positive and HIV negative individuals in specific high prevalence neighborhoods/regions within communities of color.

The overall goals are to:

  • Prevent new HIV/STI/HCV infections;
  • Increase HIV/STI/HCV testing and screening services so that an increased number of people of color know their HIV/STI/HCV status;  
  • Identify HIV/STI/HCV-positive individuals and ensure access to early, high-quality medical care and prevention services;
  • Increase access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and risk reduction services;
  • Facilitate access to prevention services including Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post‐Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP); and
  • Facilitate access to essential supportive services.

This initiative consists of the following six (6) components:

HIV/STI/HCV Prevention and Related Services for Men and HIV Positive Men

Funding supports programs that provide a comprehensive range of HIV/STI/HCV prevention interventions and related services to men and HIV-positive men within communities of color (e.g., Hispanic/Latino, Black/African American, Asian American/Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native) with an emphasis on epicenters of the epidemic and the provision of Client Recruitment/Engagement; HIV Prevention Community Collaboration; Condom Promotion, Education, and Distribution; direct provision of HIV Testing; direct provision of, or documented referral to STI and HCV Screening; Linkage and Navigation Services; and delivery of a High Impact Prevention Public Health Strategy, Evidence Based Behavioral Intervention (EBI) and/or Locally Developed Intervention; or formalized PrEP Support programs.

Comprehensive HIV/STI/HCV Prevention and Services for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) Individuals

Funding supports a comprehensive range of HIV/STI/HCV prevention interventions and related services to TGNC individuals, particularly within communities of with an emphasis on epicenters of the epidemic and the provision of Client Recruitment/Engagement; HIV Prevention Community Collaboration; Condom Promotion, Education and Distribution; direct provision of HIV Testing; direct provision of, or documented referral to STI and HCV Screening; Linkage and Navigation Services; delivery of prevention/supportive interventions; Evidence Based Behavioral Interventions (EBI) and/or Locally Developed Interventions; or formalized PrEP Support programs.

Comprehensive HIV/STI/HCV Prevention and Related Services for Women and Young Women

Funding supports a comprehensive range of HIV/STI/HCV prevention interventions and related services to programs to Women and Young Women within Communities of Color with an emphasis on epicenters of the epidemic and the provision of Client Recruitment/Engagement; HIV Prevention Community Collaboration; Condom Promotion, Education, and Distribution; direct provision of HIV Testing; direct provision of, or documented referral to, STI and HCV Screening; Linkage and Navigation Services; and delivery of High Impact Prevention Public Health Strategies, Evidence Based Behavioral Interventions (EBI), and/or Locally Developed Interventions; or formalized PrEP Support programs.

NYS Hotline Services and Social Media Based Outreach for English and Spanish Speakers

Funding supports the operation of a toll-free telephone hotline and social media outreach services to provide information, referrals, and support services to residents of NYS in both English and Spanish.

The overall goals are to:

  • Provide clear, accurate and science-based information;
  • Promote Drug User Health Services and provide referrals to Opioid Overdose Prevention Programs, Syringe Exchange and Expanded Syringe Access Programs (ESAP);
  • Promote LGBT health and wellness;
  • Facilitate access to early, high-quality medical care and essential support services; and
  • Facilitate access to behavioral and biomedical prevention services including HIV testing, STI and HCV screening, effective behavioral interventions, PEP, PrEP, and Treatment as Prevention referred to as Undetectable=Untransmittable, or U=U.

Training and Technical Assistance on HIV-Related Violence for LGBT Individuals

Funding supports the provision of services that address the intersection of HIV/AIDS and HIV-related violence impacting the lives of positive and affected LGBT individuals, particularly LGBT individuals of color. 

The overall goals are to:

  • Increase access to services for LGBT individuals who are victims of violence, victimization, hate, assault, and/or sexual intimate partner violence;
  • Raise awareness of HIV-related violence;
  • Increase provider skills and knowledge to provide culturally competent/sensitive services to LGBT populations; and
  • Increase provider skills and knowledge to provide competent post-victimization services for LGBT individuals who have experienced violence.

Capacity Building for High Impact Prevention

Funding supports the implementation of training and technical assistance activities. To expand and strengthen provider capacity to address social determinants of health (e.g., unemployment), socio-cultural issues, and promote overall health and wellness of communities of color.

The overall goal is to improve the risk conditions and behaviors in a community by focusing on the priority population and the community as a whole rather than on individuals or small groups.

Contact:

Nkechi Oguagha
Director, Office of Population Health and Prevention Programs
Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention
(212) 417-4707
nkechi.oguagha@health.ny.gov

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Prevention and Related Services for Young People

The primary goal of the HIV/STI/HCV Prevention and Related Services for Young People through the Use of Youth Health Advocates Initiative is to support the training and utilization of a diverse group of Youth Health Advocates (YHAs) to enhance the delivery of services to young people living with HIV/AIDS and young people who engage in high-risk behaviors, with a focus on communities of color.

Funded providers employ YHAs who are young people between the ages of 13 and 24 with demographics similar to the target population who are engaging in or who have previously engaged in behaviors that place them at risk of HIV/STIs/HCV. The role of the YHAs is to actively engage with young people living with HIV/AIDS and/or young people who engage in high-risk behaviors to encourage them to seek treatment, care, and prevention services.  The overall goals of the initiative are to:

  • Actively engage young people and increase their access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information;
  • Prevent new HIV/STI/HCV infections;
  • Increase HIV/STI/HCV testing and screening services;
  • Increase the number of young people who know their HIV/STI/HCV status;
  • Identify individuals who are HIV/STI/HCV positive and ensure access to early, high quality care and prevention services;
  • Facilitate access to prevention services; and
  • Facilitate access to essential supportive services.

The New York State Department of Health encourages programs that serve young people to integrate the principles and practices of youth development into service models. A youth development approach extends and enhances traditional harm reduction and prevention models by focusing on strengthening the protective factors that contribute to promoting healthy outcomes for young people.

In addition, funded programs have policies and attributes that are youth friendly and attract young people to the program, provide comfortable age-appropriate settings for youth, meet the needs of young people and retain them for follow-up and repeat visits.  The key components of this initiative include: 

  • Direct provision of and/or linkage to HIV/STI testing and/or HCV screening;
  • Linkage, navigation and retention in services for youth who are HIV-positive and youth who engage in high-risk behaviors;
  • YHA training;
  • HIV/STI evidence-based and locally developed prevention interventions designed to reduce the risk of HIV transmission or acquisition;
  • HIV navigation services;
  • Partner services-based interventions;
  • PrEP education and adherence support; and
  • Condom promotion, education and distribution. 

Contact:

Nkechi Oguagha
Director, Office of Population Health and Prevention Programs
Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention
(212) 417-4707
nkechi.oguagha@health.ny.gov

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Health and Human Services (HHS)

The Office of LGBTQ Services comprehensively addresses the intersections of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Health and Human Service (HHS) programs, services; and HIV/STI/HCV prevention, care, and treatment.

The foundation of the office is built upon the AIDS Institute’s (AI) long and unprecedented history working in partnership with the LGBT community. This history began with LGBT specific HIV prevention, treatment and care; progressed to the creation of The LGBT Health and Human Services Unit for the management of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health and Human Services (LGBT HHS) initiative, and currently in the creation of the Office of LGBTQ Services.

The LGBT HHS initiative is at the core of the Office of LGBTQ Services which was incorporated into the AIDS Institute program portfolio in 2008 and is integral to the AIDS Institute’s mission. The initiative is comprised of grantees across the state providing non-HIV/AIDS related health and human services intended to improve access to health care, provide support services, reduce stigma and increase the number of providers in New York State trained to provide sensitive and affirming care to LGBT individuals and their families. The initiative also funds two statewide technical assistance and capacity building components for current grantees and emerging organizations. The first component provides leadership development, program development, coordination, health promotion/awareness, and education and support. The second component helps organizations design and implement a LGBT cultural competence plan, addressing the priority areas of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity/expression.

The overall goals of the initiative are to:

  • Improve health outcomes and quality of life for LGBT individuals and families;
  • Expand health promotion and increase access to health care;
  • Increase access to behavioral health services;
  • Improve the health outcomes and quality of life for LGBT individuals who use substances;
  • Promote access to prevention and support services;
  • Improve the quality and appropriateness of LGBT health and human services;
  • Enhance LGBT cultural competency for health and human service providers;
  • Eliminate bias and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity among health and human service providers in New York State;
  • Increase access to educational opportunities for LGBT individuals;
  • Expand program models that support mentorship, employment and life skills training;
  • Expand resources to improve access to housing and decrease housing discrimination; and
  • Provide technical assistance in program and organizational development and enhance the capacity of LGBT service providers.

Community engagement is a hallmark of the work of the office. We engage the LGBT community to inform the creation and implementation of policy, strategic planning, Ending the Epidemic implementation strategies, planning Beyond 2020 and our collaborative work across state agencies.

It is the motivation of the Office of LGBTQ Services to elevate and address the emerging needs and gaps in services for all LGBTQ New Yorkers.

Contact:

Kraig Pannell
Director, Office of LGBTQ Services
Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention Services 
(518) 473-3802
kraig.pannell@health.ny.gov

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STI Screening

In New York State, local health departments, family planning clinics and community health centers are established providers of safety net services, including STI screening and treatment, for uninsured and underinsured persons as well as other high priority populations.  The Office of Sexual Health and Epidemiology (OSHE) works closely with local health departments, particularly those in high morbidity counties, to ensure appropriate services are provided as required by statute and regulation. 

The OSHE currently supports STI screening in 71 selected safety net provider sites through contractual support of laboratory providers, thereby reducing the cost of services to the clinical provider and patient. In 2019, agencies conducted over 62,000 tests through this mechanism, leading to detection of over 3,500 STIs.  These agencies typically serve uninsured and underinsured individuals.  The OSHE works with AIDS Institute and other New York State Department of Health partners to identify gaps in services to safety net populations, based on data available from Medicaid and AIDS Institute Reporting System (AIRS) client screening data. 

Contact:

Cord Stone, Ed.D., MPA
Deputy Director
Office of Sexual Health and Epidemiology
(518) 474-3598
Cord.Stone@health.ny.gov

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