A sexual health clinic in Chelsea, closed for years, reopened on Thursday with a revamp of the building and some modern advancements.
Construction on the redesign of the clinic, which sits on Ninth Avenue between 27th and 28th streets, began in April 2014, and all told cost about $26.3 million.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who represents Chelsea and is openly HIV positive himself, said the clinic will only help to decrease the number of new HIV cases reported.
“One of the ways that we do that is by having welcoming, culturally competent, culturally sensitive STD clinics that do this important work,” he said. “This clinic has been known as a magnet clinic from across the city because this is considered a safe neighborhood for LGBT people, a welcoming neighborhood … This clinic will continue to be that type of magnet now that it is newly renovated and open and beautiful.”
The clinic remained open during the first phase of construction, but was forced to shut its doors in September 2014, officials said.
The walk-in facility will offer pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP — a daily drug approved to lower chances of contracting HIV — PEP (or post-exposure prophylaxis), counseling services, contraception services, and the HPV vaccination. There will also be night hours and express visits for certain testing.
Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said that “every patient who comes to our clinic will realize that we treat people with dignity and respect, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”
Bassett added the clinic was the busiest in the city’s system and “people are going to flood back.”
The interior’s design features wood ceilings and green glass mosaics on the walls, according to the city’s Health Department. It also features 155 new windows, a new fire alarm system, new audio and visual equipment, a new HVAC system, as well as energy efficient lighting and an emergency generator.
“The materials were carefully selected to accent the connection to the surrounding park,” said Ana Barrio, acting commissioner of the city’s Department of Design and Construction, adding about the lengthy timeline: “It’s very difficult, logistically, to build these types of projects.”