ITHACA, N.Y. — The Southern Tier AIDS Program — which helps provide resources for people suffering from addiction or those who are chronically ill — moved just outside downtown Ithaca earlier this month.

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“It’s essentially the perfect location for our agency,” said Michelle McElroy, Deputy Executive Director for STAP.

The new building is located at 314 W. State St., about half a mile away from its former location near a busy intersection at 501 S. Meadow St.

“Being next door to DSS (Department of Social Services) is very convenient. It’s also walking distance to…CARS (Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services), the Friendship Center…It also has better bus accessibility and all of those things are pretty important to the clients we’re looking to service,” she said.
The new building is located at 314. W. State St., about half a mile away from its former location at 501 S. Meadow St.

The building was purchased last year and it underwent months of renovations before staff could move in.

Expanding staff was the other reason for the move.

McElroy said about a dozen people worked at the Ithaca STAP location and two were slated to be hired at the end of the year for the Health Homes Care Management program.

The program provides help to those with chronic health conditions who need help navigating through the process of living with their illness — such as assisting people to make or get to doctor’s appointments and providing educational services.

Other programs offered by STAP include substance use outreach information and deferral (For people actively using drugs and not seeking treatment), a syringe exchange program, and services for those who test positive for HIV.

The syringe exchange program — which the New York State Department of AIDS institute calls “the gold standard of HIV prevention” —  provides people anonymously registered in the program with free needles upon request.

According to a study cited by the institute, HIV prevalence in drug users was 54 percent in 1990 — around the time syringe exchange programs in New York began — and only 3 percent in 2012.

“A lot of people understand the program is a public health intervention,” McElroy said. “It’s absolutely essential.”

For more information about the program, visit the Southern Tier AIDS Program website.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.