HIV/AIDS Nonprofit To Bring Free COVID-19 Testing To Underserved “Test Desert”

Three decades ago, the nonprofit The Alliance for Positive Change opened its doors to support New Yorkers at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Now, the organization is doing its part to fight another infectious disease by offering COVID-19 testing at its community center in Washington Heights, an area considered a “test desert” because of limited opportunities for testing.

Starting on March 1, 2021, Alliance will begin free COVID-19 testing at Alliance CASA Washington Heights at 2036 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY.

The initiative, made possible by NYC Health + Hospitals, is part of a citywide effort to provide COVID-19 testing at microsites in “test deserts” and in COVID-19 hot spots.

The microsites initiative allows for agile and highly responsive testing in response to community needs.

In Washington Heights, where testing rates are approximately a third of those in wealthier Manhattan neighborhoods directly to the south, new cases are above the median for the entire borough.

Increased testing will identify more of these new cases, allowing for a more comprehensive COVID-19 response in the neighborhood.

Testing at Alliance CASA Washington Heights will be conducted via nasal swab, with all staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

All testing will take place outdoors in the CASA Washington Heights parking lot, in a heated, covered area to minimize risk of virus transmission.

Alliance will offer testing services Monday through Thursday, weather permitting, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Up to 35 individuals will be tested per day.

Alliance on the Move, the organization’s state-of-the-art mobile medical van, will also be available on-site for free HIV and hepatitis C screening.

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The van will service up to 12 individuals each day; tests take approximately 30 minutes, including pre- and post-test counseling.

All New Yorkers are invited to attend, by appointment or walk-in. To register for a free COVID-19 test with Alliance, please call (212) 645-0875 ext. 301.

The Alliance for Positive Change transforms the lives of New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses.

We help people access medical care, manage and overcome addiction, escape homelessness, get back to work, and find community.

By addressing the underlying issues that contribute to poor health, Alliance’s individualized, full-service approach and harm reduction philosophy help New Yorkers lead healthier, more self-sufficient lives.

At Alliance, we believe everyone deserves the chance to feel better, live better, and do better.

Learn more at

The Alliance for Positive Change free COVID-19 Testing Initiative (HIV and HCV screening also available onsite)

March 1, 2021, 11 am – 12 pm

Alliance CASA Washington Heights, 2036 Amsterdam Avenue, Entrance on 161st Street, New York, NY

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