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Iris House Launches Mobile Unit to Support HIV Testing and Education in Northern New Jersey

Thursday Oct 5, 2017

Iris House has launched its first mobile unit in Northern New Jersey, a van that will provide HIV testing and educational programming in Irvington and other cities in Essex County.

The van will accommodate two private spaces for testing, provide information on HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and offer safe sex kits to help people protect themselves and their loved ones. Additionally, team members aboard the van will be able to link individuals to community services they may need, including medical care, food services, and social support systems.

"We are excited to launch this testing and educational campaign and are grateful for the support from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey and the Irvington Mayor's office. This is integral in our efforts to expand our social support services in Northern New Jersey," said Ingrid Floyd, Executive Director, Iris House. "Iris House has been doing work in New Jersey since 2010 and receives requests frequently from community partners for on-site testing. This campaign will allow us to expand our HIV education and testing initiatives while also connecting persons at highest risk for HIV or living with HIV to needed support, care, and treatment."

The mobile testing unit is funded by a grant from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, with the purpose of increasing the reach of testing services in Irvington and Essex County, NJ, including neighborhoods with some of the highest rates of HIV incidence and prevalence in the state.

New Jersey had 37,170 people living with diagnosed HIV in 2016, 77% of whom were people of color, and a third of whom were women. In New Jersey, more than 27% of people diagnosed with HIV are also diagnosed with AIDS within three months -- higher than the national average.

There is a great need for more testing in local communities so that people living with HIV and AIDS can get into treatment sooner and prevent the complications that result in going untreated. This mobile testing unit will allow Iris House to bring testing and prevention education directly into the neighborhoods where it is needed most.

The van will be available to the public during weekdays between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. as appropriate for each location, with limited evening hours. There also will be weekend hours by request. The public is welcome to follow Iris House's Instagram account, irishouse_nj, for updates on where the van will be that week.

The mobile outreach campaign was held on Thursday, September 14, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Wally's Barbershop, featured Mayor Tony Vauss of Irvington, representatives of the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey and former Mayor Wayne Smith.

Following the ribbon-cutting, Iris House staff provided onsite testing services until 5 p.m. Signage and creative materials to support Iris House's mobile outreach unit were developed and provided by Thomas Roeller of Rolstar Advertising.

"Iris House has played a pivotal role in providing HIV-related social support services in Irvington and the surrounding region for the past three years. We are pleased that a grant from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey will allow Iris House to further expand its services and reach more people in our area," said Mayor Tony Vauss of Irvington. "There is a great need for more testing and counseling in our communities so that people living with HIV and AIDS can get into treatment sooner and prevent the complications that result in going untreated."

The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey attempts to enhance and provide a new perspective on healthcare and health-related problems and, where appropriate, seeks to provide leadership in identifying problems and in seeing that such problems are studied. We seek collaborations with organizations and institutions in both the Jewish and general communities to study problems, develop solutions, and provide funding to make those solutions a reality. For more information, visit

"The Iris House mobile unit, dedicated to aiding individuals' understanding of their HIV status, is well-aligned with our Foundation's mission to support initiatives promoting compassion and humanism in our healthcare system," said Marsha I. Atkind, Executive Director and CEO of Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey. "We have seen how profoundly medical education programs can impact targeted communities, and we are very pleased to play our part in Iris House's outreach campaign."

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 and support groups, and job and life skills training. Since opening its doors in 1993, Iris House has assisted more than 1,800 individuals cope with HIV/AIDS, and in 2015 served more than 6,800 individuals.

For more information, visit


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