Howard Brown Health Center (Chicago, IL)

Image Source: http://www.howardbrown.org/hb_locations.asp

Howard Brown Health Center was founded in 1974 and is now one of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations.  Howard Brown Center is based in Chicago and serves men, women, infants, youth, and children through many health clinics and research centers.  For more information about Howard Brown Health Center’s history, click here.

Mission:

“Howard Brown exists to eliminate the disparities in health care experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people through research, education and the provision of services that promote health and wellness.”

The Howard Brown Health Center provides many services including:

  • Walk-in Clinic
  • STD & HIV Rapid Testing
  • Transgender Health
  • HIV/STD Prevention & Services
  • Youth services
  • Elder services
  • Community initiatives
  • Alternative Insemination (AI) Program
  • Case Management
  • Counseling & Psychotherapy
  • Domestic Violence Support
  • Workshops & Support Groups

Howard Brown Health Center offers discounted health services to qualifying patients who are uninsured and have low income.  They also accept many insurance plans, in addition to Medicaid and Medicare.

For a list of locations, hours and specific services, click here.

For health related matters, please phone Howard Brown Health Center at 773-288-1600.  For urgent health issues, please call 911.

Connect with them via Facebook or Twitter.

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Bisexuality 101 (2001)

The “Bisexuality 101” booklet is published by Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and contains a detailed and concise introduction to bisexuality.  The booklet also includes common questions with answers regarding bisexuality.  Topics that are covered include relationships, AIDS, politics and biphobia.  Tips on how to increase inclusivity and organizations and resources supporting bisexuality are included.

Citation:

Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Bisexuality 101. 2001.

Link to PDF of “Bisexuality 101”

Be Yourself (2006)

The “Be Yourself” booklet, published by Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, is targeted towards youth who are or may be GLBT and have questions or are interested in looking for more information via websites and organizations.

Very detailed answers are provided for questions ranging from “Is it okay to be GLBT?” to “Do I need to worry about HIV and AIDS?”  Topics discussed include reparative therapy, ex-gay ministries, gender identity, stereotypes, youth of color, HIV, AIDS, acceptance, coming out, communication, harassment, friendships and family.  A list of organizations and resources is also included.

Link to PDF of “Be Yourself” booklet

Creating Healthy Opportunities: Conversations with Adolescent Health Experts

Summary:

This is an interview of Abigail English, the Director for the Center of Adolescent Health and Law, which is conducted by Karen Brown, a radio reporter and freelance journalist who focuses on healthcare. In the interview with Brown, English talks about expanding financially accessiblilty and confidentiality for teenagers and what measures need to be taken to do so. Lack of accessibility in healthcare for teens can lead to public health problems, such as the spread of HIV/AIDS and STIs. English hopes for a greater focus on financial assistance, preventative care, and outreach for adolescents.

  • “Not giving teens some privacy around their health care has been shown, through research studies, to affect the ways in which they seek health care – sometimes delaying or avoiding it altogether.” (Brown, 2010, p. 2)
  • “Lack of privacy also influences how candidly teens interact with health care providers and disclose essential information to them about problems like substance use, mental health concerns, and sexual activity.” (Brown, 2010, p. 2)
  •  “Financial access to health care is a struggle that stretches beyond the issue of confidentiality. english has worked for years to expand medicaid programs to include more low-income teenagers.” (Brown, 2010, p. 2-3)

Citation: Brown, K. (2010). Creating Health Opportunities: Conversations with Adolescent Health Experts. Interview with Abigail English J.D. National Conference of State Legislators. p. 1-4

Link to interview.

Oral Sex and HIV Risk (2009)

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a booklet discussing oral sex and the risk factors associated with it and the risk for HIV. Although the risk of transmitting HIV through oral sex is much lower than through anal and vaginal sex, some studies have demonstrated that oral sex can result in HIV transmission as well as other STD’s.  The only effective way to prevent STD’s is to abstain from vaginal, anal and oral sex or having sex with a monogamous partner where both you and your partner have been tested. Condoms and other barriers between the mouth and genitals can also reduce the risk of contracting HIV or other STDs. 

Oral Sex is a  Common Practice

Oral sex involves giving or receiving oral stimulation (i.e., sucking or licking) to the penis, the vagina, and/or the anus. Fellatio is the technical term used to describe oral contact with the penis. Cunnilingus is the technical term which describes oral contact with the vagina. Anilingus (sometimes called “rimming”) refers to oral-anal contact. Studies indicate that oral sex is commonly practiced by sexually active male-female and same-gender couples of various ages, including adolescents. Although there are only limited national data about how often adolescents engage in oral sex, some data suggest that many adolescents who engage in oral sex do not consider it to be “sex;” therefore they may use oral sex as an option to experience sex while still, in their minds, remaining abstinent. Moreover, many consider oral sex to be a safe or no-risk sexual practice. In a national survey of teens conducted for The Kaiser Family Foundation, 26% of sexually active 15- to 17- year-olds surveyed responded that one “cannot become infected with HIV by having unprotected oral sex,” and an additional 15% didn’t know whether or not one could become infected in that manner.

 

To view the entire document: Oral Sex is Not Risk Free

National HIV AIDS Strategy for the United States (2010)

Vision for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.
Executive Summary:
When one of our fellow citizens becomes infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) every nine-and-a-half minutes, the empidemic affects all Americans. It has been nearly thirty years since the first cases of HIV garnered the world’s attention. Without treatment, the virus slowly debilitates a person’s immune system until the succumb to illness. The epidemic has claimed the lives of nearly 600,000 Americans and affects many more. Our Nation is at a crossroads. We have the knowledge and tools needed to slow the spread of HIV infection and improve the health of people living with HIV. Despite this potential, however, the public’s sense of urgency associated with combating the epidemic appears to be declining. In 1995, 44% of the general public indicated that HIV/AIDS was the most urgent health problem facing the Nation, compared to only 6% in March of 2009. While  HIV transmission rates have been reduced substantially over time and people with HIV are living longer and more productive lives, approximately 56,000 people become infected each year and more Americans are living with HIV than ever before. Unless we take bold actions, we face a new era of rising infections, greater challenges in serving people living with HIV, and higher health care costs.
President Obama committed to developing a National HIV/AIDS Strategy with three primary goals: 1) reducing the number of people who become infected with HIV, 2) increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes for people living with HIV, and 3) reducing HIV-related health disparities. To accomplish these goals, we must undertake a more coordinated national response to the HIV epidemic. The Strategy is intended to be a concise plan that will identify a set of priorities and strategic action steps tied to measurable outcomes. Accompanying the Strategy is a Federal Implementation Plan that outlines the specific steps to be taken by various Federal agencies to support the high-level priorities outlined in the Strategy. This is an ambitious plan that will challenge us to meet all the goals that we set. The job, however, does not fall to the Federal Government alone, nor should it. Success will require the commitment of all parts of society, including State, tribal and local governments, businessess, faith communities, philanthropy, the scientific and medical communities, educational institutions, people living with HIV, and others.
To view the entire document: National HIV/AIDS Strategy

Left Behind – Black America (2008)

This report urges immediate action to address the growing AIDS crisis in Black America. It urges that America be held accountable for its failure to respond effectively to its own epidemic. And it urges that the U.S. government bring to bear all proven strategies—including those learned from experience in developing countries—that can help reduce the epidemic’s burden on Black America.

 

*needs update, better data

HIV Infection, Testing, and Risk Behaviors Among Youths (2012)

Young people in the United States are at persistent risk for HIV infection. This risk is especially notable for youth of minority races and ethnicities. Continual HIV prevention outreach and education efforts, including programs on abstinence and on delaying the initiation of sex, are required as new generations replace the generations that benefited from earlier prevention strategies. Unless otherwise noted, this fact sheet defines youth, or young people, as persons who are 13–24 years of age.

“An estimated 1.1 million people are living with HIV in the United States and about 50,000 people get HIV each year. Recent data indicate that 1 in 4 (26%) of new HIV infections occur in youth, between the ages of 13-24. In 2010, about 12,000 young people, or about 1,000 per month, were infected with HIV. bAlso disturbing is that about 60% of youth with HIV do not know that they are infected and can unknowingly pass the virus to others.”

Read the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) for more information  [opens new window]

Facts on Sexually Transmitted Infections in the United States (2009)

This fact sheet compiled by Guttmacher Institute provides detailed information and data from a variety of resources regarding sexually transmitted diseases in the United States.  A variety of topics are discussed including medical costs, symptoms, populations at risk, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis B, gonorrhea, HPV, HIV, AIDS, prevention, testing, and treatment.

Some interesting facts include:

  • Close to 40% of people who test positive for HIV are diagnosed with full-blown AIDS within one year, and the majority of those who get an HIV test late in the course of their infection do so because they are already ill.
  • To date, there are vaccines for only two viral STIs: hepatitis B and HPV. The hepatitis B vaccine was introduced in 1982, and today an estimated 70 million adolescents and adults, and more than 50 million infants and children, have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The vaccine protecting against four high-risk strains of HPV was introduced in 2006, and as of December 31, 2008, 23 million doses of the vaccine had been distributed in the United States.
  • Direct medical costs associated with STIs in the United States are estimated at $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars. More than $8 billion is spent each year to diagnose and treat STIs and their complications, not including HIV.

Link to Facts on Sexually Transmitted Infections in the United States (2009) [PDF]