Friday, March 20, 2015

LGBT Health Awareness Week, March 23 - 27

by Ceasar Montoya

Allies are people who may not be LGBTQ but who support LGBTQ events, activities, lifestyle and culture. I am one of your allies. I grew up with both friends and family who are LGBTQ. As such, I have a degree of understanding of the issues you face. However, we all have room to grow. I encourage you to participate in the scheduled activities at CDPHE from March 23rd to March 27th.

Please see the links below for more information. As an ally, I ask that you recognize that though we are in a time where same sex couples are winning the right to celebrate their lives and be recognized legally before governments, we have a ways to go achieve social justice for the LGBTQ community. We still witness many injustices such as the recent murder of Angie Zapata and the unfortunate encounter with authorities that the friends and family of Jessie Hernandez are left to deal with.

Substance Abuse and mental health issues often lead to negative outcomes, which can impact the overall wellbeing and health of the LGBTQ community. Despite variances in socio-economic status, race/ethnicity, or culture, let us stand united in support of creating change. Let us unite toward those issues that may have a negative impact on the community. Participate in whatever way you feel you can. Every little grain of sand adds up and can create a mountain of change for the better.

LGBTQ resources:

PFLAG Colorado

It Might Really 'Get Better' for LGBT Teens - The Atlantic

One Colorado's report on transgender health

Colorado HealthCare Resources for LGBTQ

Scheduled Events at CDPHE 

Monday, March 23

Mental Health, Suicide and Substance Abuse

12-1 Room C1A

Tuesday, March 24

PrEP HIV Preventative

12-1 Room C1E

Wednesday, March 25

LGBT Spirituality

12-1 Room C1A

Thursday, March 26

Health Discrepancies Trans Panel

12-1 Room C1E

Thursday, March 19, 2015

National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, March 20

by Ceasar Montoya

Friday, March 20th 2015 Marks the 8th Annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This also coincides with the first day of Spring, This is a time in Native culture for new beginnings, a time to celebrate life. Instead of reviewing statistics and focusing on what can be perceived as negativity. I will focus instead on the positive. We live in a time when resources are available to not only help prevent HIV, but to also allow individuals who are positive to live long, healthy lives when accessing successful treatment.

Tools that are available in today’s HIV prevention battle are testing, condoms, and Pre Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP. PrEP is a treatment designed to help prevent the transmission of HIV and is quickly becoming more accessible. No matter what your ancestry is, be it Kanaka Maoli (Hawaiian), Alaska Native, Lakota, or Mexican, it is our collective responsibility to do our part to create a healthy indigenous population for our children and grandchildren. For more information on prevention, testing and activities, please check out these resources below:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"I stand for 10 women living with HIV in Colorado."

Mel Mattson (right and left) representing the women of Colorado living with HIV.
Today, National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, I am privileged to be one of 181 volunteers representing the estimated 1,819 women living with HIV in Colorado. Please join me in this effort to shed light on the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls in Colorado and throughout the United States.

- Mel Mattson, STI/HIV/Viral Hepatitis Section Chief

Monday, March 9, 2015

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, March 10

by Caesar Montoya

HIV/AIDS impacts us all. March 10th is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Our sisters, daughters, mothers, grandmothers and wives are part of the picture of HIV/AIDS. Fortunately, we live in a time when people have access to treatment and services to support healthy living with HIV. For example, a woman with HIV can have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a child free of HIV. As recent as a decade and a half ago, this was still a challenge.

Many women who contract HIV are not even aware they were at risk. Factors that impact women at risk are partner violence as well as hidden injection drug use by partners. Rather than blame anyone, we are here to build knowledge, confidence, and acceptance in order to empower our women and girls to stay healthy and to help keep others healthy. This is done initially by utilizing today’s tools such as HIV testing and treatment.

In addition, new and promising options for HIV treatment and prevention are now available. Be sure to ask for details about PrEP, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. This latest HIV medication can be taken by someone who is still HIV negative to help prevent them from contracting HIV from a positive partner. The statistics documenting successful studies are significant.

In celebration of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, let us each do our part and encourage our women to get informed, get tested, and get on treatment. Together, we can build healthier communities.

More information about programs and services

Colorado's The Empowerment Program

Colorado's It Takes a Village

Where is Sisters of Colorado United for Education, from Plaza Aztlan

Colorado's Servicious de la Raza

CDC's National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day's National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
CDC's Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis information