My group focused on the health issues in Queens. After much research, we found that Queens used to have a huge HIV problem. The amount of people in Queens with HIV was greater than all of New York City combined. Although today this is no longer true, my group wanted to open an HIV clinic in Rockaway, a region that used to have an extremely high amount of HIV diagnoses per year. My group chose to open this clinic because we believed that although the amount of diagnoses per year has decreased significantly in Rockaway and people have a much easier time accessing clinics, the amount of people in Rockaway still living with HIV is pretty high. The goal of our clinic wasn’t just to provide testings, but it is to educate people on HIV and to help people live with HIV. Our Clinic would not only teach people ages 14-60+ on how to reduce risky sexual behavior, but we would also provide easily accessible HIV tests and ensure high-quality treatment of all HIV-infected people in order to prevent new HIV infections and AIDS.
It was much harder to find a health issue in a concentrated region that most people experienced or were effected by. At first, my group searched to find a health issue that all of Queens was effected by or at least a particular region. Initially, we could not find anything, because there was no region in which most people all had the same exact health problem. My group found that there were so many health issues in the neighborhood and we could not open a clinic that could address all of them. We therefore decided to chose one issue to focus on; HIV in Rockaway, where the highest rates of death from HIV are. It was frustrating at first because our clinic only addresses a small group of people – those living with HIV, but then we decided to open up a clinic that could help people not just with HIV. That is why we chose to have classes that would be open to anyone and everyone regardless of the area they lived in or their relation to HIV.
After examining numerous New York City Health Surveys and health reports, I got a much better insight into the most common health issues in New York City and the areas in which they are most prevalent. I often don’t think of health issues in terms of neighborhood, borough, or city, but doing so really helped me understand the general trends of sickness/access to health care/curing illness. The poorer neighborhoods in the city tend to have much higher rates of illness and lower access to health care. Seeing this really motivated me to take action and help change the way the health care system in New York City functions and to make it much more accessible, affordable, and available.