Emergency Town Hall Meeting on HIV Epidemic in NYC

ACT UP/NY Opposes Closure of Chelsea Clinic

CLOSURE WILL RESULT IN MORE HIV and SYPHILIS INFECTIONS - ACTIVISTS BLAME HEALTH DEPARTMENT’S “EPIC INCOMPETENCE”

NEW YORK CITY – JUNE 3, 2015 – In March of 2015, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) shuttered the Chelsea STD clinic for multiyear renovations, without any prior notice or any realistic plan to remedy the grave public health consequences of this action. Conservative estimates project that, unless significant action is taken, the continued closure of the Chelsea clinic will result in tens of additional New Yorkers becoming infected with HIV each year, at a lifetime cost to the taxpayer of at least $4.45 million per year of clinic closure.

ACT UP/New York will be leading a large protest at noon on the west side of City Hall to demand that DOHMH and the de Blasio Administration immediately and transparently implement solutions that will fully make up for lost testing and treatment capacity caused by the clinic closure.

Chelsea remains the epicenter of the syphilis and HIV epidemics in the New York City, with the highest syphilis diagnosis rate in the nation and the highest HIV diagnosis rate in the city. The Chelsea clinic identified the highest number of early HIV infections—the most infectious stage of HIV infection—of any clinic within the five boroughs and represents nearly a quarter of the city’s STD testing and treatment capacity. Diagnosis and treatment of HIV and other STIs are one of the most effective methods of slowing the spread of these diseases.

"How many New Yorkers will be lost to testing because of this poorly planned clinic closing?" asked veteran ACT UP member Jim Eigo. "How many of them will become HIV positive? How many forward infections will this fuel? Every HIV infection costs New York about half a million dollars, and the cost to the New Yorker who will now have to live with a lifetime infection is incalculable."

The DOHMH and Mayor’s Office have known for over eight years that the clinic was going to close, yet no plans existed to make up for the services lost to the community. Activists find the contrast between the response to the ongoing syphilis and HIV emergencies—in which thousands of New Yorkers become newly infected each year—and the DOHMH’s response to the single Ebola case in late 2014, disturbing. The DOHMH spent over $4.5 million on Ebola in late 2014, yet refuses to publicly commit to any money to help fill the public health gaps left by the closure of the city’s busiest HIV and STD clinic.

“This is public health malpractice,” said James Krellenstein, a founding member of ACT UP NY’s Prevention Working Group, “to shut down the city’s leading point of care for the most vulnerable population without any real alternative is an egregious act that will inevitably result in more LGBT New Yorkers becoming infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.”

In meetings with activists over the past month, DOHMH officials, including STD director Dr. Susan Blank and Communicable Disease Chief Dr. Jay Varma, have failed to account for the lack of adequate planning and the negative public

 

This month ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) launches its first ever online crowdfunding campaign. Since 1987, ACT UP has fought for the meds to keep people with HIV alive around the world, and we can use your support to continue the fight.

Donate here: http://www.gofundme.com/ACTUPNYC

ACT UP is a diverse, nonpartisan group of individuals committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis. We're an all-volunteer organization and meet every Mon night at 7pm at the LGBT Center on 13th St in Manhattan.

 

 

Syphilis Rate Map

The Chelsea STD Clinic on 9th Ave has been shuttered for renovations for 2-3 years. In the meantime, health officials are trying to send NY-ers to Riverside Clinic at 106th St. for STD testing, which will have a chilling effect on testing in the neighborhood.

Chelsea has the highest # of HIV, syphilis and gonorrhea diagnoses of any area in the country! That's WITH a clinic, so now's not the time to be reducing sexual health care for the largely LGBT clientele in Chelsea. Tell Mayor DeBlasio and City Hall that we won't stand for a CLOSED Chelsea clinic.

What: ACT UP For The Chelsea STD Clinic
When: Wed 6/3 at 12pm
Where: West Side of City Hall; corner of Murray and Broadway
Directions: Take the N,R to City Hall or the 4,5,6 to BK Bridge City Hall

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 
February 2, 2015 – New York, NY – On Saturday night, activists from the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP) gathered outside the Waldorf Astoria at a gala sponsored by Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to honor Fortune 500 corporations.
 
Activists kicked things off with a pizza party and rally across the street from the Waldorf.  Fifty activists attended in below-freezing temperatures to challenge HRC to do more in the fight against HIV.  ACT UP members slammed HRC for not including any mention of HIV in their yearly Corporate Equality Index.  They also demanded that HRC appoint an HIV liaison to the AIDS community.
 
One activist spoke about ACT UP’s critical role in the Plan to End the AIDS Epidemic in NY State by 2020 and how HRC could assist in lobbying Governor Cuomo for the budget to fund the Plan.  Another ACT UP member addressed HRC’s silence on the dire situation of homeless LGBT youth in NYC and their elevated risk of HIV infection.

After the rally, protesters moved across the street and picketed the entrance of the Waldorf while surrounded by 20 members of the NYPD and Waldorf security.  As well-dressed same-sex couples exited taxis and limousines