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First Clinic Dedicated to Express Testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections is Now Open

The NYC Health Department has announced the opening of Chelsea Express, a dedicated space located in the same building as the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic, where patients who don’t have symptoms can get tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV without having to see a clinician. Although all eight of the Health Department’s Sexual Health Clinics offer express testing services, Chelsea Express is the City’s first express clinic, ensuring that patients have fast and easy access to routine testing for STIs. Having a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis makes it more likely to get or transmit HIV. Early detection and treatment of STIs is thus crucial to preventing HIV. The opening of Chelsea Express is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Ending the Epidemic (EtE) plan, which aims to end the HIV epidemic by 2020 in New York City and includes a $23 million annual investment to reduce the number of new HIV infections and ensure a strong STI prevention infrastructure.

“The Chelsea Express will ensure that patients seeking routine STI screening can access this service with less wait time,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett.  “Many people with STIs show no symptoms, so it’s important for sexually active New Yorkers to get tested, even if they feel healthy. The Chelsea Express offers New Yorkers a warm and comfortable setting in which they can take control of their sexual health.”

“The opening of this new express clinic is another way that we will make ‘ending the epidemic’ a reality,” said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Deputy Commissioner for the Health Department’s Division of Disease Control. “Detection and treatment of STIs can stop the spread of HIV in this city and we are thrilled to provide a service that will help us do so.”

“The opening of Chelsea Express is one way we continue to make it easier for New Yorkers to #PlaySure through access to routine screening for STIs, including HIV,” said Dr. Susan Blank, Assistant Commissioner for the Health Department’s Bureau of Sexually Transmitted Infections. “Chelsea Express is a valuable asset for New Yorkers seeking to take charge of their sexual health.”

“As an openly HIV-positive elected official, I know how important it is to provide people with routine prevention, testing, and treatment options for sexually transmitted infections and diseases, said Speaker Corey Johnson. “Chelsea Express, located in the district I am honored to represent, is a major step forward in making it easier for people to get tested and a significant milestone in the city’s laudable Ending the Epidemic mission, which I fully support.”

“By opening the first clinic dedicated to express testing for sexually transmitted diseases, the de Blasio administration and DOHMH are helping protect New Yorkers’ health and get them treatment when they need it.  It’s another important step in the Mayor’s Plan to the End the AIDS Epidemic and will help make the City’s newly renovated clinic in Chelsea even better,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried of Manhattan, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health.

“Chelsea Express will help protect the health of thousands of New Yorkers,” said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm,  Chair of  the Council’s LGBT Caucus.  “Chelsea Express will make it faster and easier for clinicians to detect STIs, a crucial part of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  NYC has been a leader in the fight to reduce new HIV infections.  This effort will empower us to continue to make advancements on this front.”

“Thousands of New Yorkers live with HIV but through early detection and prevention of STIs, we can bring these numbers down and finally end the epidemic,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “The NYC Department of Health is making great strides in the Ending the Epidemic (EtE) plan with their opening of Chelsea Express, a safe space for New Yorkers to quickly get tested for STIs and receive free to low-cost treatment. I look forward to seeing what other initiatives DOHMH has in store for the future and extending my support as they roll out similar programs that empower our community to proactively take control of their health.”

“If we’re serious about preventing the spread of HIV and ending the epidemic we must ensure New Yorkers are being tested early and often,” said Senator Brad Hoylman.  “Many people with STIs exhibit no symptoms, making routine screenings all the more critical in our prevention efforts. The opening of Chelsea Express will give more New Yorkers the opportunity to get tested, bringing us one step closer to making our vision of ending the epidemic a reality. I commend the Health Department and Mayor De Blasio for this bold new initiative, and their continued commitment to ending the scourge of HIV/AIDS once and for all.”

“This is yet another example of what is possible when public health officials and community leaders work together as partners to address healthcare needs,” said Jeremiah Johnson, Advocate and Community Engagement Coordinator of Team Action Group.  “Community advocacy led to increased investment in our city’s sexual health infrastructure, and now that money is being well spent on innovative services that realistically meet the needs of marginalized populations by dramatically reducing the wait times for accessing testing, prevention, and treatment. We are now on our way toward ending HIV as an epidemic in our city thanks to sustained, meaningful dialogue between our city health department and affected communities.”

“The opening of Chelsea Express marks yet another milestone in New York City’s fight to end the HIV epidemic,” said Advocate James Krellenstein of ACT UP/New York.  “It’s now easier than ever for New Yorkers – regardless of their ability to pay – to access state of the art sexual healthcare in a convenient, welcoming environment.”

When patients visit Chelsea Express, they see a staff member to get tested for HIV and syphilis. Patients collect their own specimens for chlamydia and gonorrhea testing through urine or swab. Rapid HIV results are available within minutes, and results for syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea are available within 10 days. Chelsea Express patients who test positive for STIs, including HIV, can receive low- to no-cost treatment at any of the City’s Sexual Health Clinics, helping to stop further spread of the infections.

Chelsea Express is located in the same building as the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic, which offers comprehensive sexual health services including:

 

  • STI testing for patients who have symptoms.
  • Daily pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) Initiation and Navigation: PrEP is a safe and effective daily pill that can greatly reduce the risk of HIV infection. Eligible patients can initiate PrEP at Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic with navigation to long term primary care.
  • Full course of Emergency post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP): Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic ensures that patients have access to the full 28-day course of PEP and they can facilitate patients’ transition from emergency PEP to daily PrEP.
  • JumpstART: Through the JumpstART program, patients living with or recently diagnosed with HIV can initiate HIV medication on the day of visit with linkage to longer term HIV primary care.
  • Counseling services: The clinic has social workers onsite who can help patients with a variety of issues, including substance use and depression.
  • Quick start contraception: Eligible patients who are at risk of unintended pregnancy can initiate quick start contraception.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination: The clinic offers the HPV vaccine, which can prevent anal and cervical cancer.

The Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic reopened in March after extensive renovations to increase patient capacity and provide a new, welcoming atmosphere for patients. The $26.3 million overhaul ensures that the Chelsea Express and the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic will continue the tradition of providing low- and no-cost sexual health services for all New Yorkers, including the LGBTQ community.

The Health Department is committed to ending the transmission of STIs and HIV in New York City. Last year, the Department announced that 2,279 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2016, down 8.6 percent from 2015 and representing an all-time time low since HIV reporting began in 2001.

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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