International Planned Parenthood Federation Project Street Beat in New York Project Street Beat is an HIV-prevention and access to care program that provides services to those living and working on NYCs streets. They provide services through a mobile medical unit and also in two offices, one in the South Bronx and one in Central Brooklyn. They do everything from pap tests to needle exchange on their medical unit. Sarah Zuercher, lead clinician mobile medical unit

In Brooklyn, where will Planned Parenthood’s mobile medical unit be next?

Project Street Beat is Planned Parenthood’s HIV-prevention and access to care program that provides services through a mobile medical unit and also in two offices, one in the South Bronx and one in Central Brooklyn. Photo: Paulo Filgueiras for Planned Parenthood.

Project Street Beat, Planned Parenthood of New York City’s HIV prevention and care initiative, makes steering clear of infection as easy as stopping for soft-serve or ordering street food. How?

“At the end of the day, what we really want to do is have an impact on reducing the rate of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in the city.”

An all-inclusive van provides free health services on-the-go, driving night and day, five days a week through the South Bronx, Upper Manhattan and Central Brooklyn, courtesy its Keith Haring Foundation PSB Mobile Medical Unit.

The MMU updates its location on its website daily and typically spends half of the week in Central Brooklyn– most recently, Brownsville.

The inviting, pop-art van offers a variety of free services for all genders, regardless of immigration status, including HIV and STI screening and treatment, birth control and emergency contraception, gynecological care and opioid overdose prevention.

Sarah Zuercher, the advanced practice clinician at PSB, said PPNYC’s mobile approach to health care helps reach clients who engage in sex work, use intravenous drugs or have other circumstances that put them at a higher risk for HIV and facilitates their transition into safer practices and healthier lifestyles. 

Photo: Paulo Filgueiras for Planned Parenthood.

“For me, one of the things that I love about PSB is being able to go out into communities and provide people with really important services right where they are and in a way that meets their needs,” Zuercher said.

PSB was started in 1988 by Montefiore Hospital and PPNYC to help adolescents at risk for HIV. Despite the Trump administration’s threats to PP, Zuercher said PSB is undaunted and maintains its goal is to make HIV-prevention and care widely accessible.

“Right now, we’re really just focusing on the people who are out there and who need our services, and no matter what happens at the federal government level, we will continue to provide these services to as many people as we can,” Zuercher said.

According to Zuercher, PSB’s clients have a lot to look forward to: PSB is upgrading to a much bigger MMU in August and PEP, an HIV prevention drug that can be taken after exposure to HIV will become available at the MMU in the coming months, and is already available at PPNYC’s Brooklyn and Bronx offices. 

“The problem we’re trying to fix is multifold, but I guess at the end of the day, what we really want to do is have an impact on reducing the rate of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in the city,” Zuercher said. “The people who are at the highest risk for those things — we reduce their risk and help them remain healthy.”

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Miranda Levingston

Covering everything Brooklyn. Twitter: @MLevNews

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