In honor of World AIDS day, Dec. 1, the Dolan Family Health Center and Northwell Health dedicated a mobile HIV/AIDS screening van that will help bring testing and treatment services to residents throughout the North Shore.
The World Health Organization said it hopes to eradicate AIDS by 2030 and released new guidelines this year on HIV testing to improve access to and uptake of HIV diagnosis to help achieve that goal.
This mobile-testing center is another step in the direction of ending AIDS, with the ability to deploy on-the-go testing and counseling personnel to communities in need in Suffolk County.
New York State Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (D-Huntington Station) was present for the unveiling.
“Utilizing this day to shed light on HIV/AIDS is crucial to raising awareness of a disease that affects so many throughout the world,” he said at the event. “I am thankful for Northwell Health and the Dolan Family Health Center’s commitment to informing and educating the public on the dangers of HIV/AIDS, and their commitment to preventing the spread of this disease.”
Diagnosis is one of the most crucial steps in eradicating AIDS.
According to a new WHO progress report, lack of an HIV diagnosis is a major obstacle to implementing the organization’s recommendation that everyone with HIV should be offered antiretroviral therapy.
“Millions of people with HIV are still missing out on life-saving treatment, which can also prevent HIV transmission to others,” Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO director-general said in a statement. According to the organization, 37 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2015, and as of mid-2016, 18.2 million people are receiving antiretroviral treatment worldwide.
The San Francisco Aids Foundation said mobile testing vans help increase early detection and offer more flexible times for people to be tested, for example, at night and during the weekend.
“As we continue to search for a cure, state-of-the-art screening technologies such as the mobile HIV/AIDS screening van will help limit the spread of the disease,” Lupinacci said. ‘It also serves as a symbol of Northwell Health and the Dolan Family Health Center’s dedication to eradicating HIV/AIDS in our region.”