New affiliation between AIDS Center of Queens County (ACQC) and AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) seeks to improve delivery of lifesaving HIV/AIDS care and services throughout the borough of Queens, where there is an extremely high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in New York City.
JAMAICA, NY (February 3, 2015) AIDS Center of Queens County (ACQC) and AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) are expanding their capacity to provide critical lifesaving services to those affected by HIV/AIDS throughout the borough of Queens— where the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is extremely high in New York City. Both organizations serve HIV-positive clients with a wide variety of free services. For almost 30 years and as the only AIDS Community Service Provider in the borough of Queens, ACQC provides critical services and advocacy for HIV-positive individuals. ACQC has served over 8,000 HIV-positive clients, and 30,000 community residents in five locations throughout the borough. AHF is a global organization that provides cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to more than 382,000 people in 36 countries. It is also the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the United States.
HIV/AIDS in Queens County
Queens County is currently home to over 17,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, and the borough, compared with other boroughs in the city, has fewer HIV/AIDS services available. Of the 3,141 people diagnosed with HIV in 2012 in New York City, 501—or 16%—were from Queens. Of these, 403 were male, of whom 286 were identified as men who have sex with men (MSM) as their most likely transmission risk factor. 102 of the overall 403 males in Queens were Black while 179 were Hispanic.
According to the 2012 HIV Surveillance Annual Report compiled by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, “NYC continues to have one of the largest HIV epidemics in the United States…As of the end of 2012, 114,926 persons had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, reported in NYC, and were presumed to be living.” In addition, “Important disparities in HIV—by sex, race/ethnicity, HIV transmission risk, geography within NYC, and poverty level, among other factors—persisted in NYC in 2012. Persons newly diagnosed with HIV were largely male, black or Hispanic, young, men reporting sex with men, or persons living in impoverished NYC ZIP codes. HIV diagnosis rates were strikingly high among black and Hispanic males and females relative to other racial/ethnic groups. HIV continued to be unevenly distributed across NYC, with most high burden areas also having a high proportion of impoverished residents.”
Gail Gordon, Chair of the Board of AIDS Center of Queens County, stated, “The affiliation will enable ACQC to enhance and expand its model programs for people living with HIV and will enable ACQC to develop new programs for the clients that we serve.”
“This affiliation between ACQC and AHF allows ACQC to strengthen and expand our delivery of services, which include case management, health education and prevention services, housing services, legal services, a licensed mental health clinic, a harm reduction and syringe exchange program and a food pantry program—all services which are provided at no charge to our clients,” said Philip Glotzer, Executive Director of AIDS Center of Queens County. “We approached AHF with this partnership in mind and are honored to work with them in this exciting new collaboration.”
“Both AHF and ACQC share a common mission to stop the spread of HIV and improve the lives of all people living with HIV/AIDS and other disenfranchised populations. Individuals affected by mental illness, substance use, incarceration and poverty should be treated compassionately, fairly and without judgment,” said Michael Camacho, New York City Regional Director for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Each organization has a long history of providing such services: ACQC was founded in 1986 and AHF in 1987, a time when the AIDS epidemic was claiming the lives of thousands of men and women across the country and drugs to control the virus were few, new and experimental. This new partnership allows both organizations to continue to leverage our respective strengths to better serve the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS throughout the borough of Queens.”
“AHF recognizes the critical nature of supporting patients and clients with local grassroots community-based services that are crucial to ensuring better health care outcomes,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Nowhere is this more evident than in supporting individuals living with HIV/AIDS in harder hit communities like Queens, which has been disproportionately affected by the epidemic as well as by higher poverty rates and economic disparities and where people living with the virus may have more limited access to quality care and services than more affluent areas in Manhattan or Brooklyn. With this new affiliation with AIDS Center of Queens County and under Philip Glotzer’s ongoing leadership, we hope we can replicate this model in other key AHF locations and communities.”