Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Special HIV Testing Hours This Saturday in English, Spanish & Portuguese

National HIV Testing Day is Saturday, June 27, and AIDSProject Rhode Island is expanding its weekly free, anonymous, rapid HIV testing schedule to noon to 3 p.m. on that day on a walk-in basis at 9 Pleasant Street,Providence.  Click here for directions

“We want to make it as convenient as possible to be tested, and our testers speak three languages, English, Spanish and Portuguese,” said AIDS Project Rhode Island executive director Stephen Hourahan.  “Knowing your status is critical to preventing the spread of HIV and beginning treatment as soon as possible.” 

The national theme of the day is “Take the Test. Take Control.”

(Listen to an interview in Portuguese regarding HIV testing, courtesy of WJFD radio.  Click here.
Watch an interview on NBC 10 by clicking here.)

AIDS Project Rhode Island weekly offers HIV (and Hepatitis C) testing on a walk-in basis Tuesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. and Thursdays from 5 to 6:30 p.m.  Testing by appointment at any time is available by calling 401-831-5522 or emailing

AIDS Project Rhode Island also tests at colleges and universities across the state on a regular basis.

The Rhode Island Health Department recently announced that the rate of newly identified HIV infections in Rhode Island increased by nearly 33% between 2013 and 2014.  The department noted in a press release that “new cases of HIV/AIDS and infectious syphilis continued to increase among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men at a faster rate than in other populations.  Infection rates of all STDS (sexually transmitted diseases) continued to have a greater impact on the African-American, Hispanic and young adult populations.”

HIV is the acronym that stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which leads to AIDS, an incurable disease that may be terminal, although in recent years treatments have improved the chances for a normal lifespan and a better quality of life.  HIV is spread through sexual contact, sharing needles, and other activity where bodily fluids are passed.  More information about risk factors is available at, and

Information in Spanish is provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control at and offers a page that translates into Portuguese and other languages at

AIDS Project Rhode Island is a division of Family Service ofRhode Island.  More information is available at

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Vote for Lucy's Hearth to Receive a $15,000 Grant!

Logo for Lucy's HearthLucy’s Hearth’s program director Jennifer Barrera needs your help so Lucy’s Hearth can receive a $15,000 grant from Harlequin Books.

She’s a 2015 nominee, along with four others, for the “Harlequin More Than Words” award.  Voting continues on-line through 11:59 a.m. Thursday, June 11 to determine the three nominees who will receive $15,000 each to direct toward their favorite charities.  In Jennifer’s case, it’s Lucy’s Hearth, a much-beloved Middletown-based program for homeless moms and their kids.

You can vote every 24 hours until the 11:59 a.m. June 11 deadline at

All the nominees were nominated by authors.  Jennifer was nominated by her cousin, Newport native Marie Force, a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today best-selling author.

“I was delighted to nominate my cousin Jennifer for this well-deserved award, and I’m thankful to my publisher, Harlequin, for recognizing real-life heroines like Jen who are making such a difference for their communities,” she said.

“We are most thankful for this nomination and urge everyone to please vote today and vote often,” said Susan Erstling, PhD, chair of Lucy’s Hearth’s board of directors.

Lucy’s Hearth serves homeless mothers and their children through an emergency shelter program, a transitional apartment program, a permanent apartment program and an outreach and aftercare program. More information is available at