After Hours Project

DAILY NEWS 2004
Written by After Hours Project

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New York: Help for the At-Risk; Volunteers Fight HIV With Free Needles, Condoms. The van is part of the After Hours Project, a program started two years ago by Fernando Soto and Richard Curtis to stop the spread of AIDS in poor communities.

Soto has worked at a daytime needle exchange program for 12 years, where he met Curtis. "My brother died of AIDS in '88. He was an IV drug user. Since then I decided that I would dedicate my life to helping people," explained Soto, who thought that a nighttime exchange better matched the lifestyles of drug users and sex workers. Since June 2002, Soto and two volunteers have driven their van around Bushwick and other Brooklyn neighborhoods three nights weekly, providing free syringes and condoms.