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  • HIV/AIDS Prevention and Services

    The New School’s Student Health Services (SHS) provides several services and programs that can help prevent transmission and infection of HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. We also provide primary care and referrals for HIV treatment to optimize the health and wellness of people living with HIV/AIDS.

    All that SHS offers is grounded in harm reduction. With a non-judgmental, sex- and body-positive framework, we focus on reducing risk and supporting positive health changes. On-site, SHS offers harm reduction tools such as external and internal condoms, non-latex external condoms, lubricant, personal fitpacks for sharps disposals, and naloxone for opioid overdose prevention. To access any of these tools, please drop by SHS, email to request supplies, or call 212.229.1671 to make an appointment. 

    Services offered at SHS

  • HIV Testing and STD/STI Screening

    HIV/AIDS testing is provided in Medical Services by appointment. Appointments are only available to students who paid the per semester SHS fee. If testing is performed by Medical Services, insurance co-payments and deductibles may apply. These charges would be for laboratory fees; there is no visit-based charge for visits to medical providers (or any staff) at Student Health Services. This testing is blood-based and requires a two week waiting time for the results.

    In addition, during the academic year, free and confidential HIV testing is offered through a partnership with the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center (LESHRC). This testing is first-come, first-served. It is oral-based and results are obtained within 30 minutes; a reactive result will require a confirmatory blood-based test. The testing offered in partnership with LESHRC is open to all New School students as well as the greater NYC community. Feel free to bring a friend or partner to get tested, even if they are not a New School student.  In addition, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center offers free and confidential HIV testing, and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has clinics across the five boroughs where free and confidential testing is offered.

    If you are sexually active, part of your medical care should include HIV testing as well as checking for other sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STD/Is), like chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea among others.  This screening and related treatment is available through Medical Services by appointment. 

    PEP

    Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can prevent HIV if you've been exposed to it. PEP is the use of antiretroviral drugs after a single high-risk event to stop HIV from making copies of itself and spreading through your body. PEP must be started as soon as possible to be effective, ideally within hours, and always within three (3) days of a possible exposure. Two to three drugs are usually prescribed, and they must be taken for 28 days.

    If you think you may have been exposed to HIV very recently, see a doctor as soon as possible! PEP is offered at SHS for students who have paid the SHS fee; no appointment needed, stop by SHS. If you have not paid the SHS fee, there are community resources for PEP.

    PrEP

    The goal of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is to prevent HIV infection from taking hold if you are exposed to the virus. It's prescribed for people who are at higher risk of coming into contact with HIV. Higher risk activities include having regular, unprotected sex with partners of unknown status, and sharing needles.

    The only medication that has been approved for PrEP is called Truvada, which includes 300 mg of tenofovir (TDF) and 200 mg of emtricitabine (FTC). When taken every day, PrEP can provide a high level of protection against HIV. When using PrEP, you should continue to practice radical consent and use other harm reduction tools - like condoms, dental dams and lube - that can prevent other sexually transmitted infections and diseases.

    PrEP is offered at SHS for students who have paid the Student Health Services fee; you must make an appointment for the initial consultation and PrEP will require ongoing care with the Medical Services team. If you have not paid the SHS fee, there are community resources for PrEP.

    Antiretroviral Therapy (ART)

    SHS provides referrals for Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), which consists of the combination of at least three (3) antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease. No drug can cure HIV. Taking a combination of different medications does the best job of controlling the amount of virus in your body and protecting your immune system.

    Your medical provider will take many things into account when considering which HIV medications to prescribe for you. These will include your preferences (number of pills, once a day versus twice, etc.), the general state of your health (including your CD4 count), possible side effects, and your medical and psychiatric histories.

    Talking to Sexual Partners about STIs and STDs

    STIs and STDs are quite common - they are part of a sexual life.  This doesn’t mean people who have them should be shamed, stigmatized or stop having sex.  You can reduce harm by knowing and sharing your status with your sexual partners, and by asking your sexual partners to learn and share their status.  The dialogue around STIs and STDs is important because having one can increase your chances of getting HIV.  For example, having a sore or break in the skin from an STI/STD may allow HIV to more easily enter your body. 
    Some ideas for talking about STIs/STDs include:

    1. Don’t assume anyone’s status.
    2. Talk as if somebody with an STI/STD is listening.
    3. Avoid the words suffer, clean and dirty.  These words have loaded meanings.
    4. Practice what you will say.  Practice is part of the disclosure and consent process.

    Resources - online and NYC