On Being Well

Once a month, Mazzoni Center brings you “On Being Well,” a column that aims to address a broad range of health and wellness issues that impact LGBT communities. Mazzoni Center recognizes that wellness means more than just an annual visit to the doctor: It’s about having access to health insurance,and a culturally competent provider who understands your unique health concerns, as well as counseling/mental health and recovery support. It’s about making smart, informed decisions about your body. And it’s also about your social environment, and feeling safe, confident and empowered in your identity and within your community. For more about Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia’s home for LGBT health and well-being, visit www.mazzonicenter.org.


Earlier this month, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) released the results of the U.S. Trans Survey (USTS), which, at 28,000 respondents, is the largest survey ever devoted to the lives and experiences of trans people. The USTS was a follow-up to the groundbreaking National Transgender Discrimination Survey, which was collected in 2008 and 2009 by the NCTE in partnership with the National LGBTQ Task Force.

Every year, the team at Mazzoni Center’s Open Door Counseling program puts together what we call a “Holiday Survival Guide,” filled with tips and advice on navigating a season that can often bring challenges. Despite the joyful reputation, we all know that the holidays can also be a tough time for LGBTQ folks who may have strained relations with families of origin; for trans or gender-nonconforming folks coming to terms with family who may not be fully accepting or affirming of your identity; for people who are in recovery; for those who have been through a recent loss or break-up; or for anyone who braces themselves as this season approaches. 

 

Philadelphia is fortunate to be home to many agencies that provide holistic care aiming to meet the distinct needs of people living with HIV. These providers understand that comprehensive treatment means more than simply offering medical care, but also looking at the overall circumstances of a person’s life. Imagine if this comprehensive and patient-informed care model could be used not just to treat HIV, but to prevent HIV transmission completely.

Mazzoni Center has joined with several other health-care providers and LGBT organizations around the United States in calling on manufacturers of injectable estrogen to address the serious shortage that has been affecting trans women for the past several months. This shortage is affecting the availability of Delestrogen and its generic counterpart, estradiol valerate, in 40 mg/mL dosages, which is the preferred regimen for many transgender women.

Next month, Mazzoni Center will present the 15th annual Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference, which takes place June 9-11 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This year we’ve got a diverse and dynamic lineup of approximately 230 workshops for the general track of the conference, which is free to attend.

STD Awareness Month is here, along with the alarming news that sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis show surprising and unfortunate numbers, with cases of all three diseases increasing for the first time since 2006.

Every February, the prevention team at Mazzoni Center observes National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day with educational programming, outreach activities and HIV testing at events and in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia. February 7 has passed but, for people living with HIV, every day brings awareness to the virus and the stigma that still exist.

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