Like many other agencies that provide continuous services to the community, the Southern Tier AIDS Program (STAP) has found itself adapting in ways never imagined during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tony Fiala, Director of Program-Special Needs Populations, is the guest on the weekly, local public affairs program, Southern Tier Close Up, to provide an update on what it's been like serving a population with particular health concerns and challenges since March, 2020.

Fiala says STAP has had to change some models for its services and staff with remote options like many other agencies but still has been able to maintain access to AIDS/HIV testing, support programs, counseling and other services.

Kathy Whyte-Tony Fiala and Liam Harrington of STAP

While the pandemic has taken a lot of attention away from other issues, Fiala discusses briefly some of the similarities between the early days of COVID and the early days of another pandemic, the rise of AIDS in the 1980s and all that has been learned about the disease since then.

Fiala also talks about the importance of a relatively new science he discussed on Southern Tier Close Up well over a year ago as STAP was getting the word out about how PrEP can be taken to help reduce the risk of HIV.

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STAP continues to provide education on AIDS prevention, syringe exchange services to prevent the sharing of needles and the spread of HIV and Hepatitis, nutrition advice and other information that can help clients maintain their health and even assistance for those struggling with their medical expenses to be able to keep their companion animals with them.

More information about all that STAP does, fundraising events and donation opportunities can be found at www.stapinc.org or by calling (607) 798-1706.

Southern Tier Close Up can be heard Saturdays at 6:03 a.m. on News Radio 1290 WNBF and anytime on the WNBF podcast.

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