medical

Illinois Insurance Department joins others states opposing attacks on trans healthcare

CHICAGO — The Illinois Department of Insurance has joined other state insurance departments in opposing proposed changes to rules that protect healthcare access for transgender people. Illinois Insurance Director Robert Muriel joined 17 other insurance commissioners in signing a letter voicing their opposition to the Trump administration’s move last week. “Illinois is committed to protecting consumers and fostering an inclusive insurance marketplace. No one should be discriminated against, especially when it comes to access to healthcare,” Muriel said in a press release. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 23% of transgender people avoided going to the doctor when sick or injured out of fear of discrimination in the past year and 33% of transgender people who did see a health care provider in the past year were harassed, denied care, or even assaulted.

CU at Zero conducting trans health survey

CHAMPAIGN — CU at Zero is conducting a transgender health survey of residents in Champaign County. The organizations said that the anonymous survey will identify key interests of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the county. The survey results will be used to develop action plans to better serve the community. You can take the survey at https://qtrial2019q2az1.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0ceHfBZBco8rVbf. Please be sure to share the link for the survey.

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Prtizker signs Youth PrEP Bill into law

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Youth PrEP Bill into law on Wednesday. The new law allows Illinois youth 12 years old and older to obtain preventative health care services for STDs or substance use disorder without getting parental permission, including pre-exposure prophylaxis PrEP). 

The bill was sponsored by State Rep. Lamont Robinson (D-Chicago) in the House and State Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago) in the Senate. and supported by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. “Young people don’t wait to have sex until they’re 18, and HIV doesn’t wait either. This legislation will help ensure young people under the age of 18 have easy access to an incredibly effective and safe HIV prevention tool,” said Jim Pickett, AFC’s Senior Director of Prevention Advocacy and Gay Men’s Health, in a statement on Wednesday.

Howard Brown, nurses union reach tentative agreement

CHICAGO — Howard Brown Health has reached a tentative agreement with the Illinois Nurses Association, the health provider announced Tuesday. Howard Brown, the largest LGBTQ health provider in Chicago, recognized the nurses’ union in September 2018. Contract negotiations have been going on since then. “On behalf of our patients and providers who depend on a collaborative care team, I am elated we have brokered a tentative agreement with our valued nursing staff,” said Dr. Magda Houlberg, Chief Clinical Officer for Howard Brown . “Much like the rest of the workforce, nurses demonstrate a passion for patient-centered care and deep dedication to the organization’s mission.

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Chicago youth survey finds PrEP use doesn’t lead to more STIs

MEXICO CITY — A survey of young gay and bisexual men and transgender women in Chicago, a portion of whom were on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), has found no direct relationship between starting PrEP and any increase in subsequent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). AIDSmap reported that the survey did find that people had more condomless sex, but it did not lead to more STIs. From AIDSmap:
Ethan Morgan of Chicago’s Northwestern University and Center for AIDS Research told the 10th International AIDS Society Conference in HIV Science (IAS 2019) is Mexico City that data were collected as part of RADAR, a cohort study of young men who have sex with men and transgender women aged between 16 and 29. 

A total of 744 young people who attended six or more study visits were followed out of a total cohort of 1100. During the study period, a third of participants started PrEP (32.9%). (The fact that this was only 21% in the pre-conference abstract submitted a few months ago shows evidence of a rapid expansion in PrEP use.) About a third were also diagnosed with a rectal STI: 17% with rectal gonorrhoea and 23% with rectal chlamydia (some with both).

medical

Lawsuit against Iowa’s ban on Medicaid transgender healthcare tossed

DES MOINES — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging a law that exempts gender-confirmation surgeries from being covered by Iowa’s Medicaid program. Courthouse News reported that Polk County District Judge David Porter dismissed the suit on Thursday, saying the issues were not ready for judicial review. The new website reported that Mika Covington,  Aiden Vasquez and One Iowa argued in their May 31 complaint that the state’s ban on Medicaid coverage of sex-reassignment surgery violates their equal protection rights under the Iowa Constitution by “intentionally singling out transgender Iowans as a class for discrimination in public accommodations through the provision of publicly funded healthcare under the Iowa Civil Rights Act.”

From Courthouse News:
Covington and Vasquez had not yet sought or been denied Medicaid coverage, so they must first appeal the state’s Medicaid rules at the administrative level before challenging them in court, he wrote in a 13-page order. The complaint named as defendants Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Human Services, or DHS. A spokesman for the governor did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Illinois to ignore federal abortion gag rule

SPRINGFIELD — This week, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that Illinois will refuse to implement the Trump administration’s Title X gag rule. The rule bars federal funding for contraception for low-income women unless providers refuse to refer or provide abortion services along with other reproductive health care. “President Trump’s gag rule undermines women’s health care and threatens the providers that millions of women and girls rely on, and we will not let that stand in the state of Illinois,” Pritzker said. “Under my administration, Illinois will always stand with women and protect their fundamental right to choose. While I’m committed to bringing as many federal dollars to the state as possible, I refuse to sacrifice our values and allow vital care to lapse.

medical

Study: Increased risk of subjective cognitive decline in the LGBTQ community

LOS ANGELES — New research reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2019 in Los Angeles found higher rates of subjective cognitive decline among lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) Americans compared to their cisgender* heterosexual counterparts. In the study, subjective cognitive decline (SCD) was defined as self-reported confusion or memory problems that have been getting worse over the past year. Another study presented at AAIC 2019 investigated the effectiveness of a first-of-its-kind Alzheimer’s intervention designed specifically to improve physical function and independence for LGBT older individuals with dementia and their caregivers. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, showed the importance of tailored interventions and strong community partnerships in designing care for LGBT individuals. “Much too little is known about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in the LGBT community.

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Even when HIV prevention drug is covered, other costs block treatment

By Michelle Andrews

CHICAGO — Three years ago, Corey Walsh, who was in a relationship with a man who was HIV-positive, got a prescription for Truvada, a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent infection with the virus that causes AIDS. Walsh, then 23, was covered by his parents’ health insurance policy, which picked up the cost of the drug. But the price tag for the quarterly lab tests and doctor visits he needed as part of the prevention regimen cost him roughly $400, more than he could afford. “I went back to my physician and said, ‘I can’t take this anymore because all these ancillary services aren’t covered,’” Walsh recalled. He ended up joining a clinical trial that covered all his costs.