Project STAY (Services to Assist Youth) provides friendly, compassionate and comprehensive health care services to young people between the ages of 13-29.
Project STAY has been transforming health care and health education for over 25 years, inviting young people across New York City to participate in holistic sexual health services. Knowing the obstacles youth face in seeking sexual and reproductive health care, our team strives to improve access to care and healthy outcomes for people in our community.
Project STAY has been providing services in collaboration with different institutions and at different locations for over 25 years, but the one constant has been our unwavering dedication to enhancing health and wellness and supporting young people through the challenges of making their way into adulthood safely while navigating poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, trauma, substance use, and mental health issues, in addition to acute and chronic health conditions.
Project STAY has its origins in the school-based clinic movement. We were in the vanguard of programs establishing clinical services in NYC high schools in the mid-1980’s, under the auspices of St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. In the process of providing primary medical care and psychosocial services, we identified several young people who had sexually transmitted infections. Concerned that this could be the “tip of the iceberg”, we got a small grant to hire a health educator to conduct HIV testing and focused screening these young people. Out of the first ten high school students she screened, four were found to be HIV. All were asymptomatic. During this time period (late 1980’s) there were no specific programs serving adolescents living with HIV in Northern Manhattan.
In an attempt to meet the complex needs of these young people, we collaborated with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health to write a grant which was sent to the New York State Department of Health’s AIDS Institute. Subsequently, we were awarded funding to establish a regional Specialized Care Center (SCC) to provide comprehensive services to youth living with HIV. The initial name for the program was CAYACC (Comprehensive Adolescent and Young Adult Care Center). Over time, the program grew and changed affiliations from St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital to what is now the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and was renamed Project STAY.
Started school-based clinic under st. lukes-roosevelt hospital
began hiv testing, identified 4 hiv+ teens out of first 10 clients
Wrote grant to start regional specialized care center for hiv with mailman school of public health
program moved to columbia medical center campus (cumc)
additional funding from nysdoh to start youth access program to provide screenings of hiv and stis in community settings
Enhanced pep and prep services to teens and young adults with new nycdohmh funding and new collaboration with alliance for positive change to expand screening to adults with support from the Cdc.
collaboration with nyspi and cci to focus on screening justice involved youth for hiv/stis, substance and mental health issues to enhance linkages to care, support provided by nida.
started home access testing initiative in response to the covid-19 pandemic.
expansion of cdc high impact hiv prevention initiative and funding renewed from new york state department of health aids institute.
Our clinic is open to all NYC youth ages 13-29 for individualized sexual health counseling. Our services do not require proof of health insurance or identification- all services are free and confidential for youth . We take pride in providing a safe space for adolescents, individuals experiencing homelessness, and the LGBTQIA+ community.
AT-home hiv testing
During the pandemic, Project STAY mobilized to provide screening opportunities and care outside the clinic to those in need. Our health educators walk clients through all steps of performing an HIV rapid test in the comfort of their own home. Test kits are sent via mail and include condoms and other safer sex tools.
OUTREACH & ON-SITE TESTING SERVICES
We provide outreach at a variety of locations, allowing us to reach a diverse youth population in an effort to increase awareness and access to health care. At all our partner outreach agencies we provide STI and HIV, risk reduction education and linkages to care.
SEXUAL HEALTH WORKSHOPS
Our 30-45 minute interactive presentations are tailored to our partner organizations’ client base and needs. Workshops cover a variety of sexual and psychosocial health topics normalizing routine visits to adolescent and youth friendly facilities to devise prevention strategies and obtain diagnosis and treatment.