Jennifer, Jeff, Rachel, & Jonovia

presenting at the LGBT

Beyond The Epidemic Conference

HEAT Clinic Has Moved. Call 718-467-4446

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December 19, 2013 The New York State Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health and Human Services Network (the Network) is a coalition founded in 1994 and administered by the Pride Agenda Foundation, consisting of 53 LGBT-specific and LGBT-supportive nonprofit organizations that provide care to LGBT New Yorkers and our families. Combined, Network organizations serve more than one million New Yorkers every year.

Standing O Salutes SUNY Downstate's
Dr. Jeffrey Birnbaum for his
award-winning youth work.

Huzza, huzza to Dr. Jeffrey Birnbaum, associate professor of pediatrics at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, on being recognized by Mayor Bloomberg for helping teens and young adults fight Aids. READ MORE

HEAT Clinic Has Moved. Call 718-467-4446

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Four Downstate Members Recognized for
Excellence by Chancellor's Awards

Four members of the Downstate community have received Chancellor's Awards for Excellence. The award recognizes faculty and staff for expertise, dedication and commitment, and encourages the continued pursuit of excellence.

"These awards recognize faculty and staff on SUNY campuses who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to our students and to New York's communities," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher in announcing the honor.

The 2013 awardees are:
Excellence in Professional Service: Jeffrey Birnbaum, MD, MPH
Excellence in Teaching: Michael Joseph, PhD, MPH
Excellence in the Classified Service: Conrad Manning
Excellence in the Classified Service: Ellen Poz

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HEAT greatly expands and routinizes, community and hospital-based HIV testing and linkage to care, through Gilead's HIV Focus funding.


2012 recipient of the
Linda Laubenstein Award for excellence in HIV care.

Jeffrey Birnbaum, MD, MPH, Director of the Health and Education Alternatives for Teens (HEAT) Program, has been selected as the 2012 recipient of the Linda Laubenstein Award for excellence in HIV care. This award, given by the NYS Department of Health AIDS Institute, honors those clinicians who, in addition to providing the highest quality of clinical care for people with HIV, are distinguished as well by their whole- hearted commitment to caring for those with HIV/AIDS.

The Laubenstein Award represents an opportunity for the AIDS Institute to highlight the contributions of clinicians whose service has been extraordinary and to thank them publicly for their accomplishments. The HIV Clinical Excellence Award was established in 1992 in memory of Dr. Linda Laubenstein (1957-1992), a Manhattan physician, to honor her pioneering work and outstanding contribution to the quality of AIDS care in the early years of the epidemic. The Laubenstein Award was presented on December 5, 2012 during the World AIDS Day Healthy Living Expo ceremony in Albany, New York.


The Health and Education Alternatives has provided services to transgender youth since 2004. HEAT formalized such services in 2009 in the HEAT Transgender Treatment Protocol, and since then, many transgender youth across NYC and Brooklyn have entered into care at HEAT.



The Rising HIV Rates Among Young Women and Girls of Color: What's Going On?
Part One

By Kellee Terrell
January 25, 2011
Even though African-American and Latina women ages 13-24 account for only 32 percent of the female youth population, they account for roughly 83 percent of new HIV infections among in the United States. In addition, black women account for 62 percent and Latinas for 19 percent of cumulative AIDS cases among women 13 to 24. Numerous studies have found that the major mode of transmission among this population is heterosexual contact.
What exactly is contributing to these numbers?
In this exclusive, two-part roundtable discussion, we attempt to explore the pressing issues that are increasing HIV risk among young girls and women of color. We look at what is working, what is going terribly wrong and what is being overlooked in terms of HIV/AIDS prevention, education, testing and outreach.
Participating in this discussion are Tracie Gardner, Founder and Coordinator of the Women's Initiative to Stop HIV/AIDS NY (WISH) at the Legal Action Center; Jennifer Irwin, Program Administrator at Health and Education Alternatives for Teens (HEAT), and Co-Founder of the Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition; and Claire Simon, Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition (YWCHAC).
Kellee Terrell: The CDC released some surveillance data showing that among teens and young women 13 to 24, those rates of HIV infections are going up. We also know that those numbers are being largely driven by young women of color, especially among African Americans.
The first question I want to throw out is to Jennifer. What is not working, in terms of prevention towards this demographic, looking at the work you've been doing at HEAT?

Description: Jennifer Irwin

Jennifer Irwin, Program Administrator at Health and Education Alternatives for Teens

Jennifer Irwin: What we're seeing in terms of young girls that come through our doors is a couple things. One, in terms of prevention -- and I guess this determines whether or not you view testing as prevention -- but a lot of the young women that we deal with are hesitant to get an HIV test . One reason for that is a lot of these young women don't view themselves at risk, in terms of their behaviors. A lot of them still tell themselves "I'm not a young, gay male. I'm having heterosexual sex, therefore I really don't need to get tested."
Another issue that comes up with a lot of young women is condom use. First, there's sort of an assumption amongst these young girls that if the male doesn't want them to use a condom, they don't need to use a condom. And then for those girls who want to use condoms [even when their partners don't want to], they are having a serious difficulty negotiating condom use. With our clients, a lot of them have partners that are considerably older than them, and that creates this whole power dynamic that spawns fear, on their part that they'll be rejected, or they will be perceived to have something and not be quote-unquote clean if they use a condom. MORE (full article)

Established in 1991, the HEAT Program operates a "one-stop" full service clinic, offering a full range of medical, mental health and supportive services that are tailored to meet the special health care needs of young people. Heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or however you define yourself, ALL youth are welcome. Our program is in a youth-friendly, discrete and easily accessible venue at the Center for Healthcare Services at Bedford-Stuyvesant.
World AIDS Day, The HEAT Program received an award from NYC Mayor, Michael Bloomberg
In commemoration of World AIDS Day on December 1, 2009, The HEAT Program received an award from NYC Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, in recognition of HEAT's outstanding work with HIV+ adolescents in New York City. Program Director, Dr. Jeffrey M. Birnbaum and Program Administrator, Jennifer Irwin, accepted the award on behalf of the Program. NYC Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, was present to assist Mayor Bloomberg in presenting HEAT its award.

Health and Education Alternatives for Teens (HEAT) staff handed out information about HIV at Coney Island last month.Daily News Brooklyn

Health and Education Alternatives for Teens tackles HIV problem

Teen boys are getting HIV at a higher rate than adults, according to the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOH).

Brooklyn teens have different opinions why HIV is rising among their age group.

"People are doing stupid stuff without using condoms," said Joseph Jacques, 15, who attends Edward R. Murrow High School in Midwood.

"If parents teach their kids and get the kids to think before they make bad decisions due to repercussions, they wouldn't do it," Joseph said.

Others blame schools for not doing their jobs.

The schools "can talk more about sex and more about how to prevent, just not tell us not to do it," said Kristie Cabrera, 14, a student at Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge.

New teen HIV cases in Brooklyn rose about 41.7% between 2004 and 2006.

Among teen boys who have sex with males, new diagnoses have doubled, alarming activists. Every borough, excluding Staten Island, saw an increase in new HIV cases among males who have sex with males (MSM) since 2001; 90% of new MSM HIV diagnoses under age 20 are in blacks or Hispanics, according to the DOH.

"The culture of young men who have sex with men . . . is towards having more partners. What they need to do is have fewer partners," said DOH assistant commissioner Dr. Monica Sweeney.

Health and Education Alternatives for Teens (HEAT) is a Brooklyn-based program providing services for teens who are HIV-positive or are at risk for contracting HIV.

"It's an issue that affects everybody regardless of age, race, how much money you make," said HEAT outreach coordinator Tiffanie Patterson. "It's everyone's issue."

What makes this program unique is its peer outreach where youth help youth understand and cope with the disease.

At a July 25 beach outreach at Coney Island, music blared as HEAT volunteers handed out questionnaires, pamphlets and "hookup bags" full of items for safe sex. The volunteers talked to passers-by about the importance of getting tested and being safe.

"We give out condoms and things that people can practice safe sex with, give out information about HIV/AIDS and STDs and where you can come and get tested," said Rose Dubreuil, 20, a HEAT outreach volunteer.

"I definitely take precautions to make sure I am safe and my friends are too," said Miriam Paloma, 16, an outreach volunteer with HEAT.

The DOH is also active in educating about HIV.

The DOH has programs, such as Mpowerment where males learn how to convince a partner to use a condom. Free condoms are also given out by the city.

"I always stress through education. Educate yourself. Learn. Don't be afraid because you're only afraid of what you don't know," said Kalvin Leveille, 21, a HEAT outreach volunteer. "Once you know, once you understand, you empower yourself."

Additional reporting by Tom Harkins and Sam Levine

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