Get ready for the PrEP Rally!

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Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis — PrEP for short — is a a daily regime of medicines for HIV-negative individuals who are at high risk of HIV infection intended to help them keep from becoming HIV-positive. It is, Resource Center Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell said, “one of the tools” that people can use to avoid HIV infection.

But it is, possibly, a greatly under-utilized tool, McDonnell said, maybe because people just aren’t familiar with it and how it works.

Resource Center‘s United Black Ellument and Team Friendly DFW, an organization focused on fighting the stigma that too often accompanies  an HIV-positive status, aim to change that. And they plan to start with the PrEP Rally set for Saturday, Oct. 15, from 2-5 p.m. at Resource Center, 5750 Cedar Springs Road.

Those who attend will learn what PrEP is, how it works, and if it is right for them, as medical professionals and community volunteers share their own PrEP stories and talk about Resource Center’s plan to launch its own PrEP clinic soon.

“We will be launching a PrEP clinic sometime later this fall or early next year,” McDonnell said, adding that center officials are already working to line-up the volunteer medical professionals necessary to operate the clinic.

“We need medical professionals to do the necessary blood work for those who come in, and to talk to people about PrEP and whether it’s right for them,” he explained.

“Right now, Tarrant County is the only public health clinic in the state of Texas that operates a PrEP clinic,” McDonnell continued. “We’d love to see Dallas County start a similar program here. It’s likely that a county PrEP clinic would reach people that the Resource Center couldn’t reach, and we’d reach people the county couldn’t reach.”

The PrEP Rally will include food and beverages for those attending, but McDonnell encouraged interested persons to RSVP quickly because seating is limited. Admission is free, but those who want to attend should register here to guarantee their seat.

For more information visit UBEDallas.org/PrEP16.

 

—  Tammye Nash

AIDS Arms needs participants for PrEP focus group

PowerPoint PresentationAIDS Arms is looking for gay or bisexual black or Latino men and cisgender and transgender women to participate in a PrEP focus group to gauge awareness within the community.

The group will meet from 7-9 p.m. next Wednesday evening, May 18.

The group will meet in Oak Lawn at a location that can be reached on DART by bus or train. To register and receive the address the focus group will meet, call or email to respond. Call 214-521-5191 or email info@aidsarms.org,

Free food and gift card for participants.

—  David Taffet

New study: PrEP could prevent 168,000 new HIV infections

CDC HIV impactThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new research on Wednesday, Feb. 24, showing that reaching the National HIV/AIDS Strategy targets for HIV testing and treatment and expanding the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) could prevent 185,000 new HIV infections in the U.S. by 2020, a 70 percent reduction in new infections.

The study estimates that, between 2015 and 2020:

Reaching the nation’s goal of ensuring 90 percent of people living with HIV are diagnosed, and 80 percent of people diagnosed achieve viral suppression could prevent 168,000 new HIV infections

By also increasing the use of PrEP, a daily anti-HIV pill, among people who are uninfected but at high risk, an additional 17,000 infections could be prevented

If HIV testing and treatment remained the same, expanded use of PrEP among high-risk populations alone could prevent more than 48,000 new infections.

—  David Taffet

Community forum on PrEP set in Houston

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Damon Jacobs

The United Way of Greater Houston — Community Resource Center will host a one-day event on pre-exposure prophylaxis — PrEP — on Thursday, Oct. 22. The event is co-sponsored by Med-IQ, HealthHIV, Pozitively Healthy and the National Coalition for LGBT Health. The event is supported by an educational grant from Gilead Sciences Inc.

“Are you prepared for PrEP? A Community Forum to Explore the Optimal Use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention” will be open to the community from 5:15-8:30 p.m., and to HIV service providers from 5:15-9 p.m. Dinner will be provided. The UW Community Resource Center is located at 50 Waugh Drive.

Presentations will range from defining PrEP and how it works to identifying barriers to accessing and using PrEP. Continuing medical education and continuing education credits will be available for physicians, physicians’ assistants, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Steering committee faculty for the event are Dr. Robert M. Grant, professor of medicine with the University of California in San Francisco; Dr. Oni J. Blackstock, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York; and Dr. Richard Elion, associate professor of clinical medicine with George Washington University school of Medicine in Washington, D.C. Community presenter will be Damon Jacobs, a licensed marriage and family therapist and consumer PrEP educator from New York City.

Advocates and consumers can RSVP to the forum here.

Providers and healthcare professionals can contact Med-IQ at 866-858-7434 or by email at info@med-iq.com for information. ASO/CBOs and consumers can contact HealthHIV at 202-232-6749 pr by email at christopher@healthyhiv.org for information.

—  Tammye Nash

Take Two On The Prep Work I’m Doing To Get A Passport Under New State Department Rules

Apparently, I’ve got it wrong on passports for transgender people. Geez, I was wrong…what a surprise there! Emoticon: Roling on the floor, laughing

Seriously, my friend Abby, who in the brick-and-mortar world is an attorney, left this comment in the Pam’s House Blend thread for the The Prep Work I’m Doing To Get A Passport Under New State Department Rules diary.

Her comment:

I think you are misreading the State Department’s new gender change policy. The policy states:
A full validity U.S. passport will be issued reflecting a new gender upon presentation of the following: A signed original statement, on office letterhead, from the attending medical physician (internist, endocrinologist, gynecologist, urologist or psychiatrist) * * * stating the applicant has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to the new gender ….

(Section b(1) and b(1)(g), P. 2, emphasis added). In contrast, a “limited validity,” i.e., two-year, passport is issued when the physician is only able to state that “the applicant is in the process of gender transition to the new gender ….” (Section b(2)(b), P. 3, emphasis added). In other words, the two-year passport is for those who have not yet completed “the appropriate clinical treatment” necessary to obtain a full validity, i.e., standard 10-year, passport. (Of course, it’s important to note that it is between the trans person and her/his physician to determine what treatment is appropriate for her/him to transition, without interference or restriction by the State Department.)

I believe this is how NCTE, which worked closely with the State Department in developing this new policy, interprets it. NCTE’s recommended language for the physician’s statement recognizes this distinction, with the more limited language to be used by those applying only for the two-year passport. Thumbnail Link: NCTE: Understanding the New Passport Gender Change PolicySee NCTE, Understanding the New Passport Gender Change Policy, June 2010, p. 2. NCTE’s explanation also states, “If you are just beginning transition and need to travel abroad, you can obtain a two-year provisional passport.” (p. 1)

Obviously, you’re way beyond the beginning stage of transition and should have no trouble in obtaining a full validity passport showing your correct gender.

And on my Facebook page for the Pam’s House Blend article I wrote, there was this note from Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center For Transgender Equality:

I think there is some confusion about the difference between requirements for full ten year passports and provisional two year passports. Neither type requires “genital surgery.” Ten year passports require a letter saying you have had “appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.” Technically, the provisional passport is for people who have not completed the aforesaid treatment. However, it is our interpretation that if you and your Dr. believe you have had appropriate treatment for you, even if that does not yet or ever include genital surgery, you qualify for a full ten year passport. I cannot imagine a specific circumstance in which a transperson should apply for a provisional passport.

Egads, I got this wrong. I was in part working off the Time Magazine‘s take on the new passport policy:

For decades, the State Department had required that transgender individuals, who identify with a gender other than their physical sex, have “sexual reassignment surgery” – a term that doesn’t have a clear definition in the medical community – before they were permitted to change their passport listing. Now a note from their physician stating that they have undergone clinical treatment for a “gender transition” will net them a new passport valid for two years. (Regular passports are good for 10.)

Okay, I have to get a new letter written with the phrase “appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition” in it. Emailed my doc already, and I’ll have my new letter in January. Since it’ll probably take at least that long for my official birth certificate copy to arrive in the mail, getting a new letter won’t be much of a delay, but it has been another hoop to jump through. To quote a phrase I used often in the military: “Life is hard, then I whine.” Emoticon: Tongue out, smiling

So thank you, Abby and Mara — Getting my new passport under the new rules has been quite a learning experience. But, even though this is a difficult slog to get a new passport with a gender identifier that matches my gender identity, I’m quite aware that for many trans people in the United States, a passport may be the only path to getting an identification document with a gender identifier that matches one’s gender identity.

~~~~~

Related:

* The Prep Work I’m Doing To Get A Passport Under New State Department Rules

* BREAKING Blend exclusive: State Department issues gender change policy for passport applications

* Foreign Affairs Manual Requirements For Passport Change Of Gender
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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