By Jill Nagy
The Alliance for Positive Health, an agency assisting people with HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions, opened a new office at 13 Chester St. in Glens Falls. The new office replaces a facility in Hudson Falls, one of five regional offices of the organization.
“Things are still a bit unsettled,” said Executive Director William Faragon. He said he hopes to have everything in place for the community open house on Sept. 17. There will be a ribbon cutting and tours of the new offices. He characterized the event as an opportunity for members of the community to meet their new neighbors.
Alliance for Positive Health, formerly known as the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York, was created in 1984 as a response to the AIDS crisis, according to Donna Vancavage, director of development and marketing. It is headquartered in Albany and has offices in Schenectady, Hudson, Plattsburgh and Glens Falls, and serves a 17-county area with care management services.
“We mainly work with a Medicaid population, people living in poverty,” Faragon said.
A large part of the program is testing for AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases. Testing is available on a walk-in basis. The Alliance recently expanded its focus to include people with hepatitis C. It provides referrals to medical and counseling services, as well as help with arranging housing, proper food, and transportation.
Nutrition will be a new focus in the Glens Falls office, which is equipped with a teaching kitchen.
Offices in the North Country do a lot of work with people in prison, Regional Director Diana Aguglia said. They prepare inmates to become experts able to assist fellow inmates as well as help to prepare people ready to leave prison and then provide several months of follow-up assistance Expansion to serve a prison population was one of the reasons for expanding services to include people with hepatitis C. The prison program is administered through the Albany and Plattsburgh offices, largely because those are the offices with appropriate grant money.
Overall, the organization has 115 employees, mainly case managers, and serves some 6,000 clients annually.
The Glens Falls office has 11 employees, who transferred from the Hudson Falls facility.
Some clients may just come in once for testing or information. Others will need assistance for the rest of their lives. The goal is to move clients to as much independence as possible, Faragon said. The clientele is about evenly divided between men and women. Services are provided free of charge. The agency is supported by Medicaid funds, government grants and private donations.
The new office is in rented space in the former Salvation Army building. The building has new owners and was recently renovated. The main reason for the move was a need for more space and room to expand services, Faragon said.
The telephone number for the Alliance for Positive Health is 518 743-0703.
By Jill Nagy