Harlem United Receives Coveted Funding for HIV Care and Prevention

In late April, before a spirited crowd and with much publicity, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared that New York can end its AIDS epidemic by 2020. Two months afterwards, his administration released a detailed blueprint for the execution of this ambitious project. 

However, health care professionals know that the vast majority of the work ahead will not occur in Albany’s hallways of power. Critical to “bending the curve” – reducing new HIV infections to a level below annual deaths due to AIDS – are local, patient centered medical homes, such as the Harlem United Community AIDS Center, dedicated to preventative care and supporting HIV positive patients in their communities. 

With an eye toward 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute have granted Harlem United a combined $4 million to be implemented over the next five years. Founded just seven years after the first case of AIDS in New York, Harlem United has a strong history and deep roots in Harlem and bordering neighborhoods. 

“We know what works in our community,” weighed in Jacquelyn Kilmer, Harlem United’s Chief Executive Officer. “We’re excited to put these federal and state dollars to work to address the HIV epidemic locally.”

The CDC has extended 90 Comprehensive High-Impact HIV Prevention contracts to community-based organizations across the country. Fortunately for Governor Cuomo in his commitment to end the state’s AIDS epidemic by 2015, 14 of these contracts went to organizations in New York. Harlem United will allocate these funds to suppressing the virus and preventing infections among 16-24 year-old gay men and men who have sex with men. 

In regards to the New York State Department of Health grant, Harlem United will strive to improve early detection and patient-management of the virus.  

Harlem United has added a number of new dimensions to its mission since its inception in 1988. Nevertheless, few question its pivotal role in Cuomo’s program, especially as rates of diagnoses in the neighborhood remain among the city’s highest. 

“This funding will be instrumental in helping to widen our access points for young gay men and MSM—as well as HIV positive people that are not connected to care—and help them get care and stay healthy. We’re on track to do our part in ending the epidemic,” concluded Kilmer.

 

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