Every year we commemorate National HIV Testing Day and the importance of our community knowing its status. Iris House has taken a proactive approach in utilizing Barrack Obama’s National HIV/AIDS strategy. One of the key points in his strategy is to increase collaborations between organizations within the HIV sector. These collaborations allow agencies to better leverage federal and state resources. More specifically Iris House has formed strategic partnerships with GMHC, Bailey House andHispanic AIDS Forum. Through these partnerships, Iris House has been able to provide Hepatitis C screenings, HIV and STI testing at the aforementioned sites. Proactively screening community members for STI’s is an important step in helping to reduce new HIV infections. As we know, STI infections increase the risk of HIV transmission and infection.
Another key point of the strategy is to reduce new HIV infections. The Prevention staff have been working diligently with testing individuals and those who test positive, linking them to care and providing referrals for clients to seek treatment. Iris House has done extensive outreach in high risk areas such as areas where sex workers and substance users congregate. Part of the outreach includes providing individuals with safe sex kits, educational materials and information on where to get tested for HIV. In 2012, Iris House tested a total of 3150.
This year’s theme for National HIV Testing day is “Take the Test, Take Control”, so on June 27th come out and get tested! Iris House will also be conducting other activities in commemoration of this day. On June 27th Iris House will be testing at both of our locations. We will also have testers at St. Luke A.M.E Church from 12pm to 3pm. On June 29th, Iris House will be participating in the Harlem HIV/AIDS Faith Walk that will end at the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Plaza, where Iris House will be providing HIV testing. At our last event on June 30th, Iris House will be providing HIV Testing at the Manhattan Gay Pride event. Encourage family and friends to come out and get tested! We all need to work together to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.