The Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC) held a virtual webinar today on World AIDS Day, remembering those who have passed and detailing the services they provide to patients.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
First celebrated in 1988, “it is a time where we celebrate across the entire globe,” said Whitney Bracco, Assistant Vice President of Social Impact at the JCMC, who said it was launched to bring attention to the HIV epidemic.
“Every year, we take the time to remember those we have lost from HIV,” she added as a candle was presented on the screen.
Before the advent of COVID-19, World AIDS Day has been observed with a public march in Jersey City.
“Next year for World AIDS Day, I hope we’ll be out there wearing our red scarves,” Bracco added.
She noted Hudson County has received money from the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to combat AIDS. There will be a task force where the medical center will be represented.
“HIV has not gone away and we still have a need for certain things,” she said regarding COVID-19. She said more public education, research, and funding for programs is needed.
She noted there is a plan to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic nationally by 2030 by reducing by 90 percent. Hudson is one of 48 counties where the plan to eliminate AIDS is going to be implemented.
“It’s only a matter of time,” she said regarding finding a cure.
The Center for Comprehensive care is part of the JCMC, which was established in 1985 to care for AIDS patients.
“We consider ourselves to be a one-stop-shop,” Bracco said of their many services.
The Center works with many allies, including the local LGBTQ organization Hudson Pride.
They serve 1,000 patients each year by providing a wide range of medical and support services, from children to adults, and those at high risk.
Timothy Daniels, who heads outreach services, said they build rapport with the community by traveling to people’s homes to provide counseling. They offer mental health services doing a lot of therapy via video now both in English and Spanish.
They also help with health insurance, transportation, housing, and finding a job for those who need it. In addition, the center provides pediatric care for HIV positive women and children.
Nearly 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV now through extensive treatment.