Business Spotlight: This Business in Paterson New Jersey Just Helped 200 Residents Get Tested
What got over 200 Paterson, NJ residents out early Wednesday morning?
Hundreds of people showed up to 207 Broadway to participate in the ‘Know Your Status’ event held by NJ PAAIN (Preparing Adolescent and Adult Ideologies Now). The event which was sponsored by Amerigroup NJ, NJCRI, and HSH Outreach Services became a surprising success for the four companies that came together.
‘Know Your Status’ event
The ‘Know Your Status’ event was originally planned to test for HIV to help the community become aware of their status. According to the CDC and the Division of HIV prevention website, “35 states criminalize the behavior of people with HIV through HIV- or STD-specific laws.” The CDC does have a national mission to help aid the End the HIV Epidemic (EHE) as they are working in tandem with the Division of HIV Prevention. Though NJ PAAIN has been previously awarded a Ryan White (Part A) Grant to help in this crisis by outreach, the organization decided to take it one step further in the community.
Owner and Founder of NJ PAAIN, Roger Lester understands the importance of bringing a community like Paterson together to begin to eradicate issues only inner cities know about. For the last 2 years the organization has been an advocate for community members such as the un-homed, senior citizens, and those facing drug abuse. A representative states, “The event ended and people were still showing up that we had to turn away. Having the amount of people that show up today is an indicator that we are doing the right thing. Our neighborhood trusts what we do.”
Is Our Society Becoming More Aware of Our Health Since the Pandemic?
There is no doubt that all of us are more aware of our vitals since the beginning of this decade. Our own Executive Director has been showing up to support those committed to ending the HIV/ AIDS epidemic. In inner cities like Paterson, NJ most events are incentivized with entertainment and giveaways to bring the residents to the event. Though a sponsor of the event did later give out gift cards, it was not mentioned prior to the ‘Know Your Status’ event. PAAIN’s COO Adrian Lester states, “Today we got to communicate with our neighborhood. We provided the resources and they showed up without any incentive other than wanting to know if they were healthy.” Businesses have been taking responsibilities in their neighborhoods by coming together to service their neighbors the best way they can. Partnerships to assist for-profit businesses in feeding, clothing, testing, and sheltering residents has been a trend many people do not want to see stop.
Their Sponsors Showed Up and Showed Out
NJCRI (North Jersey Community Research Initiative) and their team of professionals provided mobile testing services. Going beyond the HIV crisis, the mobile testing unit also tested for COVID-19 and provided vaccines to any residents open to receiving it. Local to Paterson business sponsors, HSH Outreach Services and Pharmacy Plus assisted in making residents aware of the event as they also service individuals interested in their health. Lastly, health insurance providers Amerigroup NJ provided gift cards to anyone that attended the event while getting typically hard to reach people in the community signed up for health insurance.
How to Support NJ PAAIN In Their Mission
PAAIN wants to help more communities across the country know their HIV status to prevent more spreading of the disease, while bringing awareness to the new agenda to End the HIV epidemic. Currently the organization is only established in New Jersey. However, Those interested in getting to know more about PAAIN can visit their website for more information on volunteering or donations.