START Works with NY Links in Fight Against AIDS Epidemic

START Works with NY Links in Fight Against AIDS Epidemic

By Karina Cornelio

 

On September 14, 2017, Medical Retention Specialists Karina Cornelio and Gilbert Maldonado and Operations Program Manager Max Castor attended the NY Links Brooklyn Regional Group meeting held at Brooklyn Borough Hall. The meeting provided information about two key HIV initiatives taking place for the sole purpose of Ending the Epidemic in Brooklyn.

The NY Links Initiative strives to bridge systemic gaps between HIV-related services in Brooklyn. The purpose of this initiative is to achieve better outcomes for persons living with HIV/AIDS by means of improving systems for monitoring, recording, and accessing information about HIV care in Brooklyn.

In collaboration with the NY Links Initiative is the nation’s largest HIV testing initiative, New York Knows. New York Knows’ purpose is to help all Brooklyn residents become aware of their HIV status and take full advantage of the City’s HIV care and prevention services. New York Knows partners with community-based organizations, community health centers, hospitals, colleges, universities, faith-based organizations and businesses. Together, they work to provide voluntary HIV tests, make HIV testing a routine part of health care, identify undiagnosed HIV-positive individuals, link them to care and connect at-risk individuals with prevention services, which includes Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).

Participants were engaged in meaningful conversations and broken into groups to discuss ways in which we could achieve Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Ending the Epidemic plan by target year 2020. In my group we discussed the ways in which we could improve adherence among HIV-positive individuals. We spoke about enrollment in directly observed therapy which has been very successful at our clinics in START, using adherence tools/devices such as setting an alarm, writing it in an agenda, pill boxes, beepers, using a watch, adherence case management and patient education.

Overall the meeting was informative and it provided an opportunity for different organizations to provide feedback on their successes and setbacks in the mission to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.