CHELSEA — City-backed HIV and syphilis testing will stay in Chelsea while the neighborhood’s public STD clinic closes for renovations, the health department announced Tuesday.
A mobile testing unit that offers syphilis and HIV tests will be stationed outside the clinic at 303 Ninth Ave. starting this summer, health department spokeswoman Veronica Lewin said.
The city will also send additional funding to clinics at Community Healthcare Network, Callen Lorde and Mt. Sinai Downtown to pay for extra testing and to add a nurse practitioner at each site, the department said.
The Chelsea clinic will be closed for two to three years for a redesign and expansion, Lewin said.
“For many years, the Chelsea Clinic has been in dire need of renovation and additional space for its growing patient needs,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett.
“This plan will help make sure that New Yorkers who have come to rely on the Chelsea Clinic can get the services they need while we transform the Chelsea Clinic into a world-class facility.”
DNAinfo first reported on Chelsea’s high syphilis rate and the clinic’s closing. The city initially planned to direct Chelsea clinic-goers to another clinic on West 100th Street.
After outcry from AIDS activists like Treatment Action Group, ACT UP and Housing Works and intervention from City Councilman Corey Johnson, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and State Senator Brad Hoylman, the health department moved to set up the mobile unit outside the closed clinic.
“The enhanced services announced today by the Health Department represents a first step in mitigating the massive disruption in testing and treatment services caused by the closure of the Chelsea STD clinic,” James Krellenstein of ACT UP New York said.
“We look forward to working closely with the Health Department to monitor the implementation and effectiveness of these measures.”