Planned Parenthood is under attack nationally, but here in New York City access to vital health services and sexual health information and care isn't at all ready to shut any doors — in fact, they're coming to yours.
Project Street Beat is celebrating 30 years of bringing Planned Parenthood services to Central Brooklyn, the South Bronx and Upper Manhattan.
With artwork lent by Keith Haring, Planned Parenthood's mobile unit distributes condoms, does STD testing, education, hosts a needle exchange, distributes clean needles, prescribes PEP and PrEP (both of which prevent HIV), administers opiod-overdose life saving care, and can even insert pregnancy-preventing IUDs ... all from their van.
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No insurance? No appointment? No green card? No problem. Planned Parenthood has you covered — literally.
The organization has a presence in all five boroughs, but Project Street Beat brings that presence to under-served and at-risk communities who may not be able to take time off work in order to make a doctor's appointment. Or feel comfortable in a clinical environment.
They offer care to all genders, any immigration status and to every person who comes to them with a question or need, regardless of their experience or ability to pay.
Set out to be an HIV prevention and access-to-care unit, Project Street Beat does so much more. They serve marginalized New Yorkers, as well as those of us who live within the margins but still lack access to healthcare or healthcare providers who operate without prejudice.
Keith Haring, the late New York City-based artist, is best known for his iconic 1980s sketches and paintings. His foundation has lent such work to AIDS and HIV-related causes since his death in 1990, and you're sure to recognize his iconography even if his name is new to you. Haring artwork covers the mobile unit, thus making it easy to spot, and a safe space for anyone. Its also a transformative application — a trailer truck can become a welcoming, warm environment for a person in trauma. There they can engage with qualified experts who can then care for and advise on essential human health.
A surprising number of the Project Street Beat team first found their ways into the mobile unit as patients. Clients. Nervous pedestrians. People with questions and without caring, unbiased physicians. Or simply without enough money or time to find one.
"I want to show people that having HIV? Having AIDS? It's not an ending. The staff [at Project Street Beat] showed me I can live. I'm alive," says a client in the Planned Parenthood video.
"There is actually somebody that knows first-hand, than understands first-hand what they're going through," shares Eric Fairchild, from Project Street Beat
Learn more about Project Street Beat and their planned presence in your neighborhood here.