How can undocumented immigrants receive treatment for HIV / AIDS in New York?

Undocumented immigrants living with HIV / AIDS in New York State can enroll in uninsured care programs that provide access to free HIV and / or AIDS care. Here is a step by step explanation.

New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

A public health campaign to promote awareness of PrEP, a drug to help prevent HIV.

This article was originally published in Spanish. Lea the version in español aquí.

New York State provides health care services to all people, regardless of immigration status, who have or have been exposed to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and / or have developed a syndrome. acquired immunodeficiency (AIDS).

The lack of health insurance is not an obstacle to access to medicines and medical visits. New York State has programs for uninsured people living with HIV / AIDS, and the AIDS Institute has programs for New Yorkers living with HIV / AIDS to provide medical services and medication. to improve their health and quality of life.

In 2019, the city’s health department recorded 1,772 new HIV cases, down 8% from the previous year, according to the most recent data. Despite the decline, deep inequalities remain: that year, 91% of newly diagnosed women and 81% of newly diagnosed men were black or Latino, according to the city.

After consulting with several service providers, City Limits has prepared this guide to resources for undocumented migrants living with HIV and / or AIDS in New York City.

How can undocumented migrants access treatment for HIV or AIDS in New York?

There is an HIV / AIDS drug assistance program called the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which basically covers drugs at no cost. It is important to note that “participation in this program will not affect any future immigration status,” said Guillermo Chacón, president of the Latin American Commission on AIDS.

The ADAP program began in 1987 as part of a national initiative to provide HIV / AIDS drugs free of charge to low-income people.

What are the conditions for joining ADAP?

There are three conditions: The first is to have HIV or to be at risk of contracting the infection.

The second is residency in New York State and the third is financial need, that is, whether the person earns less than 500 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

By applying for ADAP, you can also purchase ADAP Plus, “limited HIV insurance,” says Dr. Rona M. Vail, Clinical Director of HIV Services at Callen-Lorde. The complete list of services covered by ADAP Plus is here. Signing up is fast.

“People can participate in this program within 24 hours or even the same day,” says Dr Vera Antonios, medical director of Harlem United.

Enrollment is done quickly since health experts recommend starting treatment as soon as possible once a person is diagnosed. In 2016, a pilot program called RapidTx was launched, providing immediate access to treatment for people newly diagnosed or returning to care with HIV.

Where to get tested for HIV inexpensively or free in New York?

“The New York Department of Health PlaySure Network is an urban network of HIV testing sites, community organizations and clinics working together to promote patient-specific approaches to sexual health and HIV prevention, ”a spokesperson for the health department said. from New York in an email.

Here is the complete list of places to get tested for HIV in the five boroughs: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten island.

In addition, there are options such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, commonly known as PrEP, a medicine taken by people at risk for HIV to prevent transmission through sex or injection drug use. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is very effective in preventing HIV.

Currently, there are two ways to take PrEP: daily or on demand (before and after sex). More details to take PrEP on request here.

What to do if you have been exposed to HIV

Act quickly: There is an emergency medicine called post-exposure prophylaxis, commonly known as PEP, which works best if taken immediately. A person should start PEP within 36 hours but no later than 72 hours after possible exposure to HIV.

You can reach the NYC PEP hotline here: 844-373-7692. A list of clinics and health centers that offer PEP is available here (As of June 21, 2021, it is therefore recommended to call ahead to confirm hours and services). The Department of Health regularly updates these directories online, a spokesperson said.

Where can I register for these programs?

Many organizations that test for HIV also help apply for ADAP and ADAP Plus and help connect with other organizations that provide other services.

Here is a short list of organizations that might be of help:

  • Queens County AIDS Center (ACQC):

Telephone: 718-896-2500

Services: HIV, ADAP.

Telephone: 646-744-2591

Services: HIV care, PrEP and PEP services, Medical care

  • Callen-Lorde Community Health Center:

Telephone: 211-241-7200

Services: PrEP, HIV,

Phone: 212-465-8304 (in Chelsea), 212-677-7999 (in the Lower East Side), 718-277-0386 (in East New York), 929-509-0914 (in downtown Brooklyn City).

Services: HIV, PrEP / PEP (including same-day emergency PEP services)

  • Community Health Network (RCS)

Telephone: 212-477-1120 (Lower East Side), 718-523-2123 (Jamaica)

Services: HIV testing.

Telephone: 718-287-2600

Telephone: 212-367-1327

  • Dominican Women’s Development Center

Telephone: 212-994-6060.

  • Latino Commission on AIDS.

Telephone: 212-675-3288 Ext: 301

  • OASIS Latino LGBTS Wellness Center.

Telephone: 917-438-0698

Telephone: 212-714-2904

What other resources are available for undocumented migrants living with HIV or AIDS?

“The New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene offers housing assistance through its Housing Opportunities for Persons with HIV / AIDS (HOPWA) program,” said Jesus Casado, community affairs manager at the center. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender community.

The list of organizations that connect people with housing options is here and more information about the program are available hereThere is also a food and nutrition program for people living with HIV / AIDS: more details here.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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