Bronx organizations continue to fight HIV stigma, support those living with virus
Friday marked World Aids Day, and two Bronx organizations say they are continuing to support those with HIV and are fighting to stop the stigma against the disease.
As of 2022, 24,300 people are living with HIV in the Bronx, according to the city's Health Department.
For the last 30 years, Iris House has been providing HIV services and wraparound social services, like helping patients find housing and making sure they have food to live an overall healthy life.
AHF has been in the community for five years.
Both are located at 655 Morris Ave. in Melrose.
Since they are only steps away from each other, someone who gets a positive test at Iris House can walk over to AHF for care.
"We must continue to fight stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV through education, positive messaging, social media and HIV testing," said Ken DeJesus, director of Testing and Outreach for Iris House.
"The role that we have as advocates in this world is to do the work. So, that everyone that comes behind us has the ability to live the most thriving and fulfilling life that they have," said Rasheed Gonga, advocacy manager for AHF.
If you go to Iris House, testing is free, and you can leave with a gift card or MetroCard as an incentive.