Gonorrhea outbreak in Rock Island

ROCK ISLAND — Public health officials in Rock Island have declared a public health emergency because of higher than normal cases of gonorrhea. The Rock Island Dispatch-Argus reported that forty-four gonorrhea cases have been reported in the first three months of 2019, compared with 27 cases in 2018. Rock Island County Department of Heath Chief Operating Officer Janet Hill told the newspaper that one of the thresholds for declaring an outbreak is at least a five-case increase per month. The department is encouraging anyone who thinks they could be at risk to get tested. “Our rates have been going up just like they are all across the country.

ChiQ 2019 coming in May

CHICAGO —  Howard Brown Health is hosting ChiQ 2019 on May 4 at the South Shore Cultural Center. From the Facebook event:
Howard Brown Health invites the LGBTQ community and allies to support services for lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender and gender nonconforming people with an evening of entertainment from Clamor & Lace Noise Brigade, The Magic of Paige Thompson, and more, music by DJ All The Way Kay and DJ Tess, full bar, light bites, photo booth, silent auction, raffle, community, and other juicy surprises! Join us as we continue the tradition of the Lesbian Community Care Project by hosting this night of celebration at the South Shore Cultural Center. By joining us at ChiQ, your generous support will enable us to continue to provide our clinical, behavioral health, and community health services, which include gynecological care, alternative insemination, breast and cervical cancer screening, HIV and STI screenings, and prevention and wellness education for the LBTQ community. Ages 21+

Thank you to our lead sponsor, Gilead Sciences!

Bill that allows teens STI care without parent’s consent in Illinois Senate

SPRINGFIELD — A bill that would allow minors 12 years old and older to get STI treatment without parental consent is now in the Illinois Senate. The bill, House Bill 2665, is an amendment to the Consent by Minors to Health Care Services Act. It would allow minors about 12 years old who may have come into contact with any sexually transmitted disease substance abuse problem to give consent to the furnishing of health care services or counseling related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, rather than just the diagnosis or treatment. The bill passed the Illinois House of Representatives on April 4. The bill sponsors in the House are Lamont J. Robinson, Jr., Rita Mayfield, Kelly M. Cassidy, Kathleen Willis, Robert Rita, Robert Martwick, Michael Halpin, Theresa Mah, Gregory Harris, Delia C. Ramirez, Camille Y. Lilly, Will Guzzardi, Anna Moeller, Sam Yingling, Nicholas K. Smith, Robyn Gabel, LaToya Greenwood, Michelle Mussman, Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, Michael J. Zalewski and Daniel Didech.

New LGBTQ clinic opens at Des Moines hospital

DES MOINES — The Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines is opening at LGBTQ clinic, a local newspaper reported Tuesday. The Des Moines Register reported that the clinic, at 1200 Pleasant Street, will offer a variety of services including physical and wellness care, cancer screenings, sexually transmitted disease and sexually transmitted infection testing, mental health assessment, pre-surgical and post-surgical care for people having gender affirming surgery and trans-affirming gynecological care. “This is a significant addition to our health care platform,” Mike Namanny, regional vice president of operations at hospital owner UnityPoint Clinic, told the newspaper. “By offering these services, we are fulfilling UnityPoint Health’s mission of improving the health care opportunities of everyone in our community.”
The new clinic will open April 9 within Internal Medicine at the hospital and will be open the second Tuesday of each month from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Howard Brown announces TGNC Health Research Advisory Network

CHICAGO — Howard Brown Health has put out a call for the Chicago portion of the TGNC Health Research Advisory Network. From the email announcement:
We’re proud to announce that Howard Brown’s Center for Education Research and Advocacy is leading an innovative transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) Health Research Advisory Network, Four Corners in collaboration with Whitman Walker Health, LA LGBT Center and Legacy Community Health. Four Corners is made up of community members, clinicians, and researchers across the U.S. to develop more inclusive and patient centered research by and for the TGNC community. Four Corners will facilitate meaningful and equitable participation of all members in order to expand community-led health research. No prior research experience is necessary to participate.

Howard Brown Health to help launch national research advisory network for transgender and gender nonconforming health

CHICAGO – This week, Howard Brown Health announced its participation in an innovative community-led research advisory network that will support the development of patient-centered research projects focused on addressing the health needs of transgender and gender nonconforming people (TGNC). Entitled “Four Corners: TGNC Health Research Advisory Network,” (Four Corners) includes Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, D.C.; the Los Angeles LGBT Center; and Houston-based Legacy Community Health. Combined, the four organizations currently serve over 10,000 TGNC-identified patients. Led by Howard Brown Health, Four Corners will unite community members, researchers and clinicians from across the U.S. to facilitate equitable participation of all members to contribute to a patient-led expansion of TGNC health research. “Four Corners will establish a new standard in transgender research by including community voices from the start,” said Andie Baker, vice president of Howard Brown Health’s Center for Education, Research and Advocacy.

Prtizker signs exec order to restore HIV funding

ROCKFORD — Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, signed an executive order restoring public health funding for HIV care. From the State Journal-Register of Springfield:
He signed an executive order to expand access to the medicine known as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, which can reduce the chances of getting HIV. PrEP funding was a casualty of the state budget impasse. The order also increases funding for HIV testing, the African American HIV/AIDS Response Act and other public health initiatives. “That’s what we’re here to do — to eradicate the HIV epidemic.

UIC needle exchange and HIV testing site on west side offers expanded medical services

CHICAGO — Clinical services to prevent and treat wounds, abscesses and infections caused as a result of injection drug use are now being offered at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Community Outreach Intervention Project’s, or COIP, west side field office. Services will be provided by physicians, nurses and students from UIC’s Urban Global Medicine Program and the UIC College of Nursing. COIP provides clean needles to injection drug users, performs testing for hepatitis C and HIV and offers overdose prevention education. Counselors at the clinic also help provide linkage to additional medical care and addiction treatment services for people with drug and alcohol use disorders. The west side office is one of five field sites run by COIP, which is housed in the UIC School of Public Health.

Studies find that transgender hormone therapy is less risky than birth control pills

WASHINGTON — Novel studies published in the Men’s Health Issue of AACC’s journal Clinical Chemistry suggest that hormone therapy for transgender people increases the risk of blood clots less than birth control pills and does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease at all. These preliminary results could help more transgender individuals to access essential hormone therapy by increasing physician comfort with prescribing it. All major medical associations agree that transgender individuals need to be able to express their gender in ways with which they feel comfortable and that this is the most effective treatment for psychological distress caused by incongruence between sex assigned at birth and gender. For many transgender individuals, expressing their gender involves physically changing their body through medical steps such as taking hormone therapy. However, transgender patients often experience difficulty getting hormone therapy prescriptions, to the point that 1 in 4 transgender women have to resort to illegally obtaining cross-sex hormones.