The LIAAC Blog

News and thoughts from the Long Island Association for AIDS Care

August 22, 2018
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on The New Board Chair for The Long Island Association for AIDS Care

The New Board Chair for The Long Island Association for AIDS Care

LIAAC is pleased to announce the Board of Directors has appointed a new Chairman, Thomas Fabbricante.

Tom Fabbricante has been working as a Digital Asset Manager at an optics company, for about 10 years, previously working in the fields of medical care and pharmaceuticals. Tom has been involved with LIAAC in several different capacities over the years. He started his relationship with LIAAC in the 1980s, working as a volunteer, visiting AIDS patients in the hospital.

Mr. Fabbricante has been a faithful member of the LIAAC Board of Directors for over 10 years, and in June 2018 he was appointed as the new Chairman. Former board chair and current CEO, John Haigney, said, “Tom has been an integral part of LIAAC’s Board for many years and will bring much to the table as Board Chair as LIAAC expands it’s mission of providing services and support for Long Islanders infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and at high risk for HIV infection and other
chronic diseases.”

July 23, 2018
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on The Long Island Association for AIDS Care (LIAAC) recognizes National African American Hepatitis C Action Day

The Long Island Association for AIDS Care (LIAAC) recognizes National African American Hepatitis C Action Day

July 25, 2018 marks the Sixth Annual National African American Hepatitis C Action Day (NAAHCAD), lead by the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. (NBLCA) and the Coalition on Positive Health Empowerment (COPE). It is a day dedicated to promoting Hepatitis C prevention, testing, treatment, and linkage to care in our African American communities, and other at-risk people that are disproportionately affected by the virus.=

According to the New York State Department of Health’s (NYSDOH) latest publication on the reported cases of communicable diseases, there were 1,453 reported cases of people living with Hepatitis C in Nassau and Suffolk County in 2016. And with the current opioid epidemic, and the increasing use of injection drugs, the numbers may rise further. In July 2017, the NYSDOH reported that over 5,300 Long Islanders have been admitted to an Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services(OASAS)-certified chemical dependence treatment program, with the majority of clients living in Suffolk County.

Hepatitis C has been called the “Silent Epidemic” because many people who are infected with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) do not show apparent symptoms for decades. The virus is spread when infected blood enters the body of someone who is not infected. There are several ways one could become infected, but sharing injection drug needles; being born to an infected mother; and blood transfusions and organ transplants before 1992 are the most common ways it is transmitted. It is most recognized in the chronic stages when liver damage has occurred. HCV infections could range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks (acute infection), or a lifelong illness (chronic infection) that attacks the liver, resulting in liver problems, including cirrhosis or liver cancer.

LIAAC will be participating in NAAHCAD by spreading Hepatitis C awareness and encouraging testing on our social media outlets. LIAAC provides free and confidential Hepatitis C testing as well as education and linkage to care services.

July 18, 2018
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on June 10th Long Beach Pride

June 10th Long Beach Pride

On June 10th, LIAAC joined the thousands of LGBTQ Long Islanders, their friends, families & allies in celebrating the annual Long Beach Pride. Long Beach Pride weekend was full of exciting events for everyone, from carnival rides to a fashion show. As part of the event’s, Pride Market Fair, the LIAAC team setup a booth and distributed condoms & educational literature about health to the community. The booth included a Prize Wheel to test the knowledge of fellow Islanders, putting a fun spin (#PunsAreBad) on health education. This engaging game helped open the door to having a conversation about getting tested and being safe. Pride Month is always an exciting time for the LGBTQ community and LIAAC was honored to be a part of it.

May 16, 2018
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on Long Island Association for AIDS Care (LIAAC) Recognizes National Prevention Week

Long Island Association for AIDS Care (LIAAC) Recognizes National Prevention Week

National Prevention Week takes place annually, and is dedicated to increasing public awareness of substance abuse and mental health issues. This year the event takes place May 13 – 19. The three primary goals of National Prevention Week are: to involve communities in raising awareness of behavioral health issues and in implementing prevention strategies; to foster partnerships and collaboration with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to behavioral and public health; and to promote and disseminate quality behavioral health resources and publications. This year, Prevention Week takes place from May 13 to May 19, 2018 and the overall theme is “Action Today. Healthier Tomorrow.”

Currently, the United States has been within the grip of a devastating opioid abuse crisis, one from which Long Island is not immune. According to the New York State Comptroller’s 2016 report on prescription opioid abuse and heroin addiction, Suffolk County had the highest rate of heroine overdoses of all the counties in the state. It is important that we take this week as an opportunity to speak to young people about the dangers of abusing prescription and illicit drugs, such as bodily damage, infectious diseases, and even death.

May 11, 2018
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on LIAAC Recognizes Hepatitis Awareness Month and National Hepatitis Testing Day

LIAAC Recognizes Hepatitis Awareness Month and National Hepatitis Testing Day


May is Hepatitis Awareness Month and May 19, 2018 is National Hepatitis Testing Day, an opportunity to shed light on this hidden epidemic by raising awareness of viral hepatitis and encouraging priority populations to get tested. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those at highest risk for viral hepatitis are: baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965); men who have sex with men; Asian and Pacific Islanders; those with HIV/AIDS; and injection drug users.

There are more than three types of Hepatitis. Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C are each caused by a different virus and is spread in different ways. Hepatitis A can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can become life-long chronic infections. However, there are vaccines that prevent against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.

In the U.S, an estimated 2.7 to 3.9 million people are living with chronic HCV infection. Statewide, an estimated 200,000 people are living with HCV infection. It is estimated that up to 75% of persons living with HCV do not know their status. According to the 2016 Communicable Disease Annual Reports from the New York State Department of Health, there were 562 Hepatitis C infections reported in Nassau County and 891 Hepatitis C infections in Suffolk County.

February 21, 2018
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on The Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Inc. Observes National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

The Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Inc. Observes National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

February 7, 2018 marks the 18th year for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), a national HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative targeted at Blacks in the United States and the Diaspora. NBHAAD was founded in 1999 as a national response to the growing HIV and AIDS epidemic in African American communities. The theme for 2018 is “Stay the Course, the Fight is Not Over!”

The NBHAAD initiative leverages a national platform to educate, bring awareness, and mobilize the African American community. NBHAAD has four key focus areas which encourage people to get educated about HIV and AIDS; get involved in community prevention efforts; get tested to know their status; and get treated to receive the continuum of care needed to live with HIV/AIDS.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016, 44% of estimated new HIV diagnoses in the United States were among African Americans, who comprise 12% of the US population. Additionally, according to the New York State HIV/AIDS Surveillance Annual Report for Cases Diagnosed through December 2016, 20.7% of people newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Nassau and Suffolk counties were Black. Although this number has decreased from 24.4% since December 2014, there is still work to be done.

To get involved with our efforts, visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LIAAC.inc and follow us on Twitter at @LIAAC_inc. For more information or to schedule a test, call our toll free hotline at 1-866-236-3448.

February 14, 2018
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on LIAAC Supports Go Red Day 2018

LIAAC Supports Go Red Day 2018

LIAAC and Tri Care Systems showed it’s support for Go Red Day 2018. Go Red Day helps raise awareness about cardiovascular disease and is supported by several agencies including the American Hearth Association, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others. You can learn more about it at https://www.goredforwomen.org/get-involved/national-wear-red-day/national-wear-red-day/

January 30, 2018
by Liaacinc
1 Comment

The Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Inc. Names its New Chief Executive Officer

Since its founding in 1986, LIAAC has been a staple in the Long Island community. On June 30th, after over 30 years of service to the community of Long Island, Dr. Gail Barouh, PhD retired as the CEO of the Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Inc. After Dr. Barouh’s retirement, the LIAAC Board of Directors asked, the Board Chair, John Haigney, to take on the position of interim CEO, to help the agency as it transitioned to new leadership over the coming months. In January 2018, impressed with his leadership over this time, the Board elected John Haigney to the position of Chief Executive Officer.

John Haigney has been involved with LIAAC for over 30 years. The Board is very confident in John’s leadership and are excited to see what the future holds for the agency with his tenure.

With a new year and a new CEO also comes a new organizational structure at LIAAC. We are happy to continue to provide HIV prevention programs such as SAMHSA CSAP Educated Choices Healthy Options (ECHO), SAMHSA CSAT Project Safety Net, CDC’s program Young Men who have Sex with Men of Color. In addition we continue our vital Health Homes Care Coordination. We are exploring plans to expand upon the services we currently provide. LIAAC has been known for its innovative practices and for being on the forefront of current public health trends. We look forward to a bright and promising future.

November 7, 2017
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on Hepatitis A Cases Are on the Rise Amongst Men Who Have Sex with Men in New York State.

Hepatitis A Cases Are on the Rise Amongst Men Who Have Sex with Men in New York State.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) reported a significant increase of Hepatitis A infections in men who have sex with men (MSM)[1]. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) also found a similar increase among individuals living outside of the city[2]. Since January 1, 2017, there has been a ten-times increase of reported cases within the MSM population living in New York City, which may be linked to outbreaks in 16 European countries[3].

While Long Island was not specifically mentioned in these alerts, our close proximity to the city and surrounding areas puts us at a high risk. According to the latest data gathered by the NYSDOH, there were 61 cases of Hepatitis A in Nassau and Suffolk Counties from 2013 to 2015, which is higher than any other region outside of NYC.

Hepatitis A is a communicable disease of the liver caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). The virus is usually transmitted when the feces of an infected person gets into the mouth of another person; usually when a person consumes food or water that is contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Even a microscopic amount is enough to cause infection. Transmission can also occur when someone puts their mouth, lips, or tongue on another person’s anus or objects that were near another person’s anus, such as a penis, finger, condom, or sex toy. Once inside the body, the virus attacks the liver and may cause symptoms that can last up to several months, including fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, grey-colored stools, joint pain, and jaundice.

While most people recover completely from Hepatitis A after a couple of months, a few severe cases may be life-threatening. To treat the infection, doctors usually recommend rest and medical monitoring until the infection has passed. Some people may need to be hospitalized.

Fortunately, there is an HAV vaccine that will prevent infection. It is recommended that all gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men be vaccinated. Depending on the vaccine, 2 or 3 shots over time may be needed to provide full protection. For those people who are unsure of their vaccination history, the NYSDOH recommends getting one nonetheless; there is no harm in repeating the vaccination. Vaccine costs are covered through the New York State Medicaid program, AIDS Drug Assistance Program, and most private insurances.

If you have had sex, shared drugs, or lived with someone with Hepatitis A within the last two weeks, getting the vaccine or immune globulin can help protect you. The sooner you seek medical attention the better.

For the gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) that live on Long Island, Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Inc. (LIAAC) has several programs tailored to this population that can make Hepatitis A prevention, diagnosis, and treatment easier:

  • Project Safety Net provide referrals for Hepatitis A (HAV) and Hepatitis B (HBV) testing and vaccinations.
  • YMSM Alternative Prevention and Care  links young men who have sex with men to primary care physicians.
  • Prevention Education  provide educational workshops; offer free and confidential HIV, Hepatitis C (HCV), and STI testing; as well as create campaigns to spread awareness.

All of these programs also provide the MSM population with free and confidential HIV testing, education, and linkage to care, as people living with HIV are disproportionally affected by viral hepatitis. An HIV infection causes viral hepatitis to progress faster and causes more liver damage to occur than among those who do not have HIV.

For more information about Hepatitis A, please visit the sites below. If you have more questions, your doctor or local health care providers are great tools to help you better understand the disease.

Resources:

Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Inc.

Free & Confidential Hotline 877-865-4222

www.liaac.org

New York State Department of Health

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/aids/consumers/lgbt/

Fact Sheet on Hepatitis A: https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/1859/

Information for Consumers – Hepatitis A: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/hepatitis/hepatitis_a/consumer.htm

Information for Providers – Hepatitis A: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/hepatitis/hepatitis_a/provider.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Hepatitis Fact Sheet for Gay and Bisexual Men: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/patienteduhav.htm

Hepatitis A Questions and Answers for the Public: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/afaq.htm

Patient Education Resources: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/patienteduhav.htm

Hepatitis A Questions and Answers for Health Professionals: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/havfaq.htm

Other Resource:

Vaccine Information Statements: http://www.immunize.org/vis/vis_hepatitis_a.asp

 


[1] New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 2017 DOHMH Alert #34: UPDATE: Increase in Cases of Hepatitis Among Men Who Have Sex With Men https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/han/alert/alert34-hepatitis-a-among-men.pdf.

[2] Latash J, Dorsinville M, Del Rosso P, et al. Notes from the Field: Increase in Reported Hepatitis A Infections Among Men Who Have Sex with Men — New York City, January–August 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:999–1000. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6637a7 .

 

[3] European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Rapid risk assessment: hepatitis A outbreak in the EU/EEA mostly affecting men who have sex with men. Third update, June 28, 2017. Solna, Sweden: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control; 2017. https://ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications- data/rapid-risk-assessment-hepatitis-outbreak-eueea-mostly-affecting-men-who-have-sex .

 

November 6, 2017
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on SAMHSA announces new grant for LIAAC

SAMHSA announces new grant for LIAAC

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded grants totaling $166 million over five years through its Targeted Capacity Expansion-HIV (TCE-HIV) Program and its Prevention Navigator Program. Through the two grant programs, SAMHSA expects to fund seventy-nine grants each year up to five years. These grants will be used to prevent HIV among high-risk populations and to treat co-occurring behavioral health disorders and HIV.

“Seventy-nine agencies throughout the United States have been selected to receive grants; LIAAC is privileged to be the only agency on Long Island to receive one.” – Gail Barouh, Executive Transition Officer

More information on the grant from SAMHSA can be found at https://www.hiv.gov/blog/samhsa-awards-166-million-hiv-prevention-and-treatment?utm_source=GovDelivery&utm_medium=Oct25&utm_campaign=SAMHSA