On Saturday, May 4, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., in advance of the summit, Iris House will offer free and confidential HIV and hepatitis C rapid testing; blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol screenings; sexually transmitted infection testing (gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia); blood and bone marrow drives; dental screenings and more through partnerships with St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital and Columbia Dental School, amongst others. A number of community organizations with informational booths will also be on site on the plaza at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building (163 W. 125th St.).

On Monday, May 6, leaders in the HIV/AIDS community will join Iris House for the eighth annual Women as the Face of AIDS Summit to address critical issues concerning women and families infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. The event will include discussions on current rates of infection and other key issues for women in relation to HIV, the intersection of HIV and criminalization, and a keynote address on HIV and reproductive justice.

A keynote address will feature Dazon Dixon Diallo, who is credited as a recognized visionary and pioneer in the fight against HIV and AIDS on behalf of communities of women living with HIV and those at risk for HIV and STDs. Diallo is founder and president of SisterLove Inc., established in 1989, which was the first women’s HIV/AIDS organization in the southeastern United States.

Other scheduled speakers include Sean Strub of the Sero Project on HIV and criminalization and Dr. Rodney Wright of Montefiore Medical Center on current issues for women and HIV. The summit will also include more than a dozen presentations from various non profit organizations, including GMHC, National Minority AIDS Council, National Women and AIDS Collective, Village Care, Voces Latinas and poster presentations by groups from across the U.S.

Councilwoman Christine C. Quinn will be co-sponsoring the event with educational grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, OraSure Technologies, Janssen Therapeutics and Gilead Sciences. Additional grants were provided by Blink Fitness, M&T Bank, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Citiwide Harm Reduction, HEAT (Health and Education Alternatives for Teens), the Imperial Court of New York, Town Total Health, Exponents Inc., Gay Men’s Health Crisis, God’s Love We Deliver, the Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, TheBody.com and the William F. Ryan Community Health Center.

Iris House provides services for women, families and communities infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS. In addition to providing family-centered services that promote prevention, education and awareness, Iris House also offers practical services that address the day-to-day needs and reality of living with HIV/AIDS. Iris House provides nutritional counseling and meal programs, intensive case management, scatter-site housing, mental health services, support groups and job and life skills training.

Since opening its doors in 1993, Iris House has assisted thousands of individuals cope with HIV/AIDS and reached tens of thousands of people in our communities through outreach, prevention education and free HIV rapid testing. For more information on Iris House and Iris House programs, please visit www.irishouse.org.