HIV Transmission -> What We Know & Why States Are Getting It Wrong

HIV

andrew shaughnessy

By: Andrew Shaughnessy, Manager of Public Policy
PROMO Missouri
@AndrewShag

AIDS.gov states that certain body fluids from an HIV-positive person can transmit HIV.

The body fluids mentioned are: Blood, Semen (cum), Pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), Recital fluids, Vaginal fluids, & Breast milk.

Nowhere on this list does it mention saliva. Missouri laws, similar to several States, criminalizes behaviors that the CDC regards as posing either no risk or negligible risk for HIV transmission, this includes saliva. The Justice Department goes so far as to detail the best practices States should incorporate to make HIV-related laws align with science.

However, earlier this week, Missouri Legislator Travis Fitzwater (R -49) introduced Missouri House Bill 1181, which would have made it a crime for an individual knowingly infected with HIV to intentionally project saliva at another person.

HB 1181


Missouri is no stranger to strict laws (MO Rev. Sec. 565.085) that criminalize certain behaviors that have been proven by science to not transmit HIV. Several States still reference criminal statutes that fall under this category, which is why States should start modernizing their HIV criminal laws: now. Enacted through the fear of the 80s – early 90s, Missouri, like many States, continues to get it wrong it when it comes to effective HIV/AIDS policy. States enacted these laws with the intention of reducing HIV transmission, however research shows that these fear-based laws have the opposite effect and help HIV proliferate.

Missouri House Bill 1181 was scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday April 7th, but at the last moment was taken off of the docket. This hopefully signals a step in the right direction — but we still have a long journey ahead. Advocates in Missouri and nationwide should continue to monitor any legislation that seeks to further criminalize people who live with HIV.

Missouri Case Study 11 – Reviewing LGBT Welcoming Policies in Rural Missouri Hospitals

andrew shaughnessyBy: Andrew Shaughnessy
Manager of Public Policy, PROMO Missouri
@AndrewShag

At the beginning of February 2015, LGBT advocates in Missouri began reviewing our second list of hospitals on their LGBT welcoming policies. Having successfully accomplished several LGBT policy victories during our first round of outreach, we began to tackle a new beast — rural Missouri.

Choosing 10 hospitals throughout the Mid-Missouri and Southeast Missouri region, we began our review. Reviewing rural hospital policies as an outsider can be difficult. Our researchers, however, presented themselves as regular patients that really only had one connection publicly* with these hospitals — their website. Herein lies several challenges to this research. Difficulties in the regular maintenance of a hospital’s website, problems with the lack of hospital organizational structure to allow for maintenance, and the years of slowly decreasing revenue adding to the lack of structure; could lead to possible inaccuracies from the data collected during the reviewing process. We, however, have not experienced any hospitals who have challenged our review.

How did we begin to review a rural hospital’s website?

  1. Identify hospital’s main website – for most rural hospitals this could be the website that their System had set-up, make sure to check both. If the hospital’s website links to the System network, then make sure to check the System website for their LGBT welcoming policies.
  2. Use search engine to identify key terms used by LGBT patients – this includes searching for terms such as “discrimination”, “sexual orientation”, “gender identity”, “visitation”, “patient rights”.
  3. Document and log policy research – in order to create the individualized reports, while also maintaining for your records whether policies do or do not exist before beginning our outreach.

Upon reviewing each hospital website, we concluded our findings and began to work on outreaching to those hospitals in hopes of sparking their interest in reviewing their policies. Next Missouri case study, find out the strategy used in outreaching to rural hospitals to spark their interest in LGBT welcoming policies.

Missouri Case Study 10 – Making LGBT Health Matter in Missouri Hospitals

Andrew Shaughnessy, Manager of Public Policy for PROMO

Andrew Shaughnessy
Manager of Public Policy, PROMO Missouri
@andrewshag

This year has proven to be a monumental year for LGBT Missourians. Those monumental steps have been the recognition of out-of-state marriages by the State of Missouri, and the leadership of nearly 47 Missouri hospitals, who have included 105 new LGBT welcoming policies to their core values. As an LGBT Missourian it certainly gives me relief to know that I can access health care facilities and be me: my authentic self.

In 2013, only two Missouri Hospitals, Children’s Mercy in Kansas City and the VA in St. Louis, qualified as leaders in the Human Rights Campaign Care Equality Index (HEI). In the coming days the health sector will see the launch of the 2014 HEI, where several of Missouri’s top hospitals have been reviewed on their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) welcoming policies.  This year, Missouri will see several hospitals both in rural and urban areas that have been working to ensure their facilities are welcoming to all.

To learn more about the policies of Missouri Hospitals, click here for a map detailing their LGBT welcoming policies.

We have truly made LGBT health matter among Missouri’s top hospitals, but the work of the LGBT health policy project does not stop there. Through the technical assistance of Dr. Scout, Director of LGBT HealthLink, we will continue to work with health and social services organizations in Missouri to ensure that we are creating spaces free from discrimination. Through our collaboration with Sherrill Wayland, Executive Director of SAGE Metro St. Louis, we will be training Missouri’s health and social service professionals to understand the unique needs of LGBT patients.  And we will continue to advocate for the health of LGBT families and our families of choice.

As we begin to look at the legal future for the LGBT community, we must be concerned with the growing disparities we find in LGBT health. Our next frontier is on the borders of health and making sure that we are a strong and healthy community. I’m humbled to be a part of this work. Having experienced discrimination in a health care setting myself, I assure you your voice is not going unheard.

 

LGBT Wellness Roundup: October 5

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://ow.ly/DhVNO

Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with bloggers Liz Margolies and Scout, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here. The weekly LGBT Wellness Roundup can also now be experienced as a video — check it out above.

Join Me For a Live Webcast: The Passion and Power of Young People in the Ongoing Fight Against Tobacco

Kenneth E. Warner | Lecture Series

The Passion and Power of Young People in the Ongoing Fight Against Tobacco

SAVE THE DATE:

Wednesday July 24, 2013 from 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM EDT

Add to Calendar

 CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS AND TO VISIT THE EVENT HOMEPAGE

 

In-person attendance is limited to those attending the CTFK Youth Advocacy Symposium and Legacy Youth Leadership Institute Training. No registration is necessary to view the live webcast.

 

On Wednesday, July 24th, Legacy and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) will host a special youth-led panel discussion, as part of the Kenneth E. Warner Series Lecture, which will highlight the power and passion of youth engagement in tobacco control.

Young leaders will discuss the challenges and successes of the movement and, with the upcoming release of the 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s report, its significance in the future of tobacco control for years to come.

The live webcast will be archived for your convenience.

Moderator: Ritney Castine, Associate Director of Youth Advocacy, CTFK (Former Legacy Youth Board Liaison)

Panelists:

  • Chad Bullock, Founding Director of Forget Tobacco
  • Kaitlyn Reilly, Communications Consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Anna Santayana, Grassroots Marketing Coordinator for Legacy (Former crew marketer for the truth®tour)
  • Lee Storrow, Managing Director of the NC Alliance for Health and Member of the City Council for North Carolina Chapel Hill (Former Legacy Youth Board Liaison)

& Yours Truly…. 

  • Gustavo Torrez, Program Manager for the Network for LGBT Health Equity

 

For more information, please contact Laura Cruzada at lcruzada@legacyforhealth.org or 202-341-0324.

Creative Problem Solving and Arkansas

 
 
By Daniella Matthews-Trigg
Program Associate
Creative Problem-Solving and Arkansas

Greetings!

After Gustavo’s trip to Arkansas last week and blog post about forging national and local partnerships, I wanted to share another very cool Arkansas-related health equity resource, LGBT/HIV and Tobacco Survey Report prepared by Dathan Johnson, BS and the Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program through the Arkansas Department of Health.

In February, the Arkansas DoH set out to better understand the high rates of tobacco use in LGBT communities, as well as which strategies would be most effective for reaching these populations with cessation and public health messages.

The survey had some very  interesting results, including that “none of the 30 participants who answered the question could correctly list the Arkansas Tobacco Quit line number”, which was of “most concern”. Additionally, 86% of the participants who smoke stated that “if given the resources and support, they would cut down or quit using tobacco”.

The conclusions that they came to after this survey were both insightful and extremely relevant;

“tobacco cessation should be strongly addressed in the LGBT community in
Arkansas through radio, TV, and the Internet (i.e., Facebook.com). Programs that target the LGBT population need to be developed to both prevent the initiation of tobacco use and help smokers quit. ADH TPCP will establish a work group with the objective of generating targeted, effective tobacco control strategies in a small group setting for this community.”

They also not only recommend that a “concerted effort be made to heighten LGBT-focused organizations’ awareness of tobacco control as a public health priority in the community” but pledged to assist local LGBT organizations in including tobacco control advocacy and programs in their scope of activities to build healthier communities.

These results speak to the greater issue of lack of access to health resources in the LGBT community. The steps that the Arkansas Department of Health are taking to support local LGBT organizations is admirable, but sadly, rare. In the fight against tobacco it seems that the most basic strategies aren’t working. So…do we go smaller or bigger? If even the seemingly most straightforward intervention, telling people the number of the quitline, doesn’t stick, then what is the next step?

Maybe instead of recreating the wheel, maybe we improve upon the work that has already been done. I am always most inspired by creative, almost too-simple-to-be-true strategies. An example that comes to mind is the Q-drum. In places without running water, people often have to walk many miles each day to access water for bathing, cooking and drinking as well as agriculture. Water is heavy so the amount that can actually be carried is small. The Q-drum is incredibly simple but revolutionary in its success.

Lets use the Q-drum as inspiration. Lets look at the resources we have available but try to see them in a new way.

One of the Arkansas study participants wrote, “I do not think any form of media would really
grab my attention” but then went on to mention anti-smoking campaigns that they remembered, one even by name! So I guess the question is how to consciously INVOLVE people and communities in anti-tobacco work. The advertisements are out there, and they are being noticed, but maybe not in a way that STICKS. So do we push harder? Do we try something new? I guess that’s for all of us to decide…

What creative solutions do you use? What is a challenge that you have?  Lets start a dialogue and bounce around ideas until we create our own, LGBT health equity and tobacco control Q-drum.

A great first step is to join our discussion Listserve and stay informed about what others are doing and keep all of us updated about your work (to sign up, click here and fill in your email under “Join the Fight” on the right side of the page,  or shoot me an email!). Also, check out our Resource Library, which has research, articles, surveys, presentations and lots of other great resources from a whole variety of organizations and individuals around LGBT health and tobacco control. Get connected!

We are so excited about the work around LGBT health equity and tobacco that is happening in Arkansas and want to give a huge shout-out to the folks who are doing such great work. Thanks for asking the right questions and searching for the best answers.

LGBT Surveillance: Next Steps for the Federal Government

As tides change on the federal level, there is opportunity for our community to mobilize and discuss next steps to assist federal agencies to include LGBT communities in federal efforts. A major gap on the federal level is LGBT Surveillance, so the Network would like to host a BrownBag titled “LGBT Surveillance: Next Steps for the Federal Government.”

The goal of this BrownBag discussion is to share stories, lessons learned, strategies and successes through a discussion of the pros and cons of incorporating LGBT data as well as how these questions have been implemented in the field from state LGBT surveillance efforts.

We would love to bring together state representatives, researchers, and community folks that have implemented LGBT surveillance, or have been working on incorporating efforts in their state.

Join us on Monday, November 22nd at 4pm (EST). Please let us know if you are able to attend by completing the Registration below. Call/log-in information will be sent out Monday morning.

BrownBag Registration

About the BrownBag Series: It’s about linking people and information: The BrownBag Networking call series is designed to be an open space for, you guessed it, the Network. So pull up a chair and enjoy a virtual lunch with us to network, share, and collaborate with collogues from around the country. For descriptions of past BrownBag Webinars, see our blog.