LGBT Health Education Blog
This week, The Global Forum on MSM & HIV announced its 2012 Global Men's Health and Rights Survey. Click here to take part in the second global survey in history on the health, happiness, and access to care for men who have sex with men (last year, 5,000 responses were collected worldwide). Survey results are used to improve global access to HIV prevention and care services.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will host a Webinar on Transgender health on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm EDT. Register here. Among the panelists are members of the National LGBT Education Center's Faculty and Advisory Board: JoAnne Keatley, MSW (Director of the Center of Excellence on Transgender Health at University of California San Francisco), and Walter Bockting, PhD, (University of Minnesota).
The Lesbian Health Fund (LHF), a program of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) is accepting proposals for research on lesbian health. The fund is especially interested in applications that address the diversity of sexual minority women's communities and studies of health promotion and health improvement in lesbian and bisexual women, as well as studies that are potentially publishable and which are conducted as first steps toward larger grant applications. Proposals are due on May 15th. Information on how to apply is here. Founded in 1993, LHF is only U.S. fund dedicated to the unique health needs of lesbians.
Morehouse School of Medicine
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Last week, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) held a one day conference at Morehouse School of Medicine to highlight the issues of HIV/AIDS in the LGBT community. Former Surgeon General David Satcher stated in his speech that there is no greater health disparity than the impact of HIV on gay men.
Also of importance were discussions introduced by the ONAP Director Grant Colfax and CDC's Kevin Fenton on the growth of the epidemic among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women, in particular young black MSM. According to recent statistics from the CDC, MSM accounted for 64% of new cases of HIV in the United States in 2009, and alarmingly there was almost a 50% increase among young black MSM. When considering this, it is important to keep in mind CDC researcher Greg Millett’s meta-analysis of HIV risk factors shows that black MSM do not engage in higher rates of risky behavior but that they do experience lower rates of testing, a higher prevalence of HIV in their community, and barriers to care. Recent evaluation of HIV among transgender women showed HIV rates as high as 27% (Herbst et. al). Regarding our understanding of the epidemic, David Malbranche, MD from Grady Hospital and Emory University presented an eloquent discussion on how we might think of intersectionality and the MSM community, raising interesting new perspectives on how intersectionality, long considered a source of LGBT health disparities, can also be viewed as a reason for resilience. The conference was a particularly good opportunity to develop an agenda; a great deal of work remains to create interventions that will make a difference regarding HIV and LGBT people.
On that note, Sean Cahill, the Director of Health Policy at the Fenway Institute has just written on this topic. His essay follows.
HIV funding and programming targeted at gay and bisexual men in the U.S.: Reasons for hope, and cause for concern
By Sean Cahill
Over the past few years we have witnessed a number of advances in science-based HIV prevention and care policy and LGBT health policy in the U.S.
We have a first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy that prioritizes reducing the disparity affecting gay and bisexual men—who were 64% of new infections in 2009, although just 2% of the adult population. We repealed a number of counterproductive policies dating back to the dark days of the 1980s and Senator Jesse Helms, such as ending the HIV entry ban, ending the ban on using federal funds for syringe exchange, and ending funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage education. Unfortunately, the latter two changes were short-lived. And we’ve seen long overdue increases in funding for Ryan White care, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, HIV prevention through the CDC, and research at NIH, including promising biomedical prevention research.
When I first learned about the possibility of conducting medical provider trainings in Malawi, I, like many Americans) did not know much about this landlocked African country. Like most gay men, I knew that Madonna had adopted a child from Malawi. I was also aware of the gay couple who were sentenced to 14 years hard labor for having an engagement ceremony. I did some research and found that Malawi faces a lot of challenges. It is the second poorest country in the world. 11% of its population is HIV positive and each year 50,000 Malawians die from HIV/AIDS. Malawi is also known as the “warm heart of Africa,” because of the kindness of its people, which from my experience there is most definitely true. (more…)
LGBT clinicians have been at the forefront of efforts to improve access to quality care for LGBT people. Often we don’t think of the personal issues clinicians face in coming out and leading these efforts. Mark Schuster MD, PhD, who is on our Education Center’s Faculty and Advisory Board, writes about this with candor and grace in a recent article “On Being Gay in Medicine” published in the Journal of Academic Pediatrics. His moving personal story will inspire many.
On Being Gay in Medicine, by Mark Schuster, MD, PhD
The first time I stood before a large audience to speak was when I was 13 years old. It was at my Bar Mitzvah. I walked up to the podium, looked out over the sea of faces, and thought to myself, I am a homosexual standing in front of all of these people. And I wondered what would happen if I told them. (more…)
The CDC-funded Seattle STD/HIV Prevention Training Center is providing a webinar on sexual health in men who have sex with men on June 7, 2012. Additional information is available here. Thanks to our friends at Sylvie Ratelle STD/HIV Prevention Center for tipping us to this training.
LGBT seniors who live in New York have reason to celebrate. New York City officials and elder organization SAGE (Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders) recently opened the city’s first LGBT senior center (press release), to be called the SAGE Center. The center is the city’s first to provide services that are culturally competent for LGBT elders. In addition to mental health programs, the center will also help clients with meals, fitness classes, health and wellness seminars, cultural offerings, and volunteer opportunities. SAGE’s Executive Director referred to the new center as “a dream for LGBT older people for many years.” Older adults are often presumed heterosexual, creating an environment that is not sensitive to the specific needs of LGBT people in aging services, healthcare and other institutional settings. Senior services and organizations that are culturally competent for LGBT communities help to reduce isolation, a key health barrier older LGBT people face.
The SAGE Center is located at 305 Seventh Avenue 6th Floor in New York, telephone 212-741-2247.
In March, the Veterans Health Administration clarified a portion of its 2011 policy on respectful delivery of health care for transgender veterans. (The National Center for Trans Equality issued an excellent fact sheet about the directive.) The original policy stated that an individual must provide official documentation in order to change their name and gender in VHA medical records. Some VHA staff incorrectly interpreted this to require documentation of sex reassignment surgery. The VHA has now clarified that to change the gender on the patient’s VHA medical records, a veteran must simply provide a physician’s letter certifying that the veteran has changed genders and has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. The physician’s letter need not certify that surgery, or any particular medical procedure, has been completed. Since many transgender individuals do not undergo surgery or other medical treatment, this policy clarification is very important to helping them receive culturally sensitive care. One important way health care staff can create a welcoming environment for transgender patients is by using the individual’s preferred gender, pronoun, and name.
The VHA is among the largest healthcare providers in the U.S., with over 275,000 employees. It provides care to thousands of women and men who have served in the U.S. military.