GHAP/Gay Health Advocacy Project
A group of concerned students and medical staff at Columbia University organized the Gay Health Advocacy Project in 1985 to address the health-related needs of gay men affected by the emerging HIV epidemic. Through the efforts of those original GHAP Advocates, Columbia became the first institution of higher education in the world to offer HIV antibody testing to its students, faculty, staff, and community. More than 1,000 people of all genders and orientations are tested per year.
From its inception, GHAP has recognized the connections among physical health and social or psychological well-being. In addition to developing an intensive training program for the volunteer Advocates who carry out pre- and post-HIV test counseling, GHAP has sponsored support groups, conferences, a mentoring program, educational talks, and workshops for the Columbia community.
In addition to HIV testing, GHAP services include consultations about PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV) and PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV) and coordination of hormone replacement therapy for gender affirmation. In 2015, student volunteers at GHAP founded WHAP, the Women's Health Advocacy Project. WHAP Advocates are GHAP Advocates who undergo additional training in order to provide more comprehensive sexual health peer counseling and birth control education.