Posts Tagged ‘transgender’

New Podcast Episode: Community Resources and Stigma-Free Safe Zones

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

Peer Health Alliance PodcastIn this episode of the PHA (Peer Health Alliance) Podcast we discuss some great stigma-free resources right here in the Hudson Valley. Whether you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community or want to support someone who is. The team talks about a few of the great social, support and medical resources you can access without having to trek down to NYC! Save the tolls, give a listen and learn how to be more connected to the things you need right here in our community!

Listen and subscribe to all episodes on iTunes and Spotify!

New Podcast Episode: Condoms

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

HVCS’ Peer Health Alliance or PHA podcast is fun, open conversation about reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections and overall sexual health tips for young men ages 13-29 in the LGBTQ community and anyone who wants to know more about staying safe when it comes to sex.

In this episode Steph, Naomi & Andy talk about condoms, condom flavors, lube and more.

Subscribe and listen to more episodes on Spotify, iTunes, your favorite podcast app, or the web.

New Podcast Episode: STDs…the Truth Is Out There!

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

In this episode Steph, Naomi and Andy debunk a few of the myths about sexually transmitted diseases or STD’s. You don’t want to miss this one!

Subscribe for more episodes or listen to each one on Spotify, iTunes and other platforms!

PrEP, PEP and Hep A: Podcast Episode

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

In this episode of our new podcast, we discuss what PrEP & PEP are and how they both work. Plus learn about the rise of Hep A here in the Hudson Valley and how to protect yourself against a range of harmful sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

You can also listen to more episodes on Spotify, iTunes and other podcast platforms–subscribe today!

HVCS’ New Podcast: Peer Health Alliance talks about S…E…X!

Friday, January 31st, 2020

We are pleased to announce that the Peer Health Alliance has a new podcast all about safer sex, hooking up, and all sorts of fun topics.

“Parents Just Don’t Understand”…that’s why talking about sexual health with a PHA peer is so important. In this episode we talk about HVCS’ Peer Health Alliance or PHA program and what a “peer” is. Learn why it is important to get your difficult sexual health questions answered by someone like you, that gets you and has the training and resources to you need. There are some conversations you don’t want to have with even the coolest of moms!

Find more episodes here or listen on Spotify! and iTunes (other podcast platforms coming soon).

HVCS Joins HIV/AIDS Orgs in Condemning Efforts to Downplay Transgender, Diversity at CDC

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

Hudson Valley Community Services joins other HIV/AIDS organizations in condemning efforts to ban or otherwise avoid seven key words and phrases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in the process, erase the transgender community and diversity.

On Monday, December 18, 2017, five of the nation’s leading organizations focused on ending the HIV and STD epidemics in the United States – AIDS United, NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors, NMAC and The AIDS Institute – expressed alarm over reports that the Trump Administration barred staff at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) from using certain words in its FY2019 budget justification to Congress. Hudson Valley Community Services stands with them in opposition to this development.

It is now being reported that top officials merely suggested that the CDC avoid using the words as a technique to help secure Republican approval of the 2019 budget. Either way, we cannot do justice to all communities–especially those at the highest risk for HIV–by pandering to those squeamish of diversity.

The five organizations released a joint press release, stating: “While we continue to be in contact with the Administration, CDC, and other agencies regarding these reports, restrictions on these terms, in any manner, demonstrate this Administration’s troubling lack of commitment to science and we are seeking further clarification. Thanks to bipartisan support in Congress and the Executive Branch we have made incredible progress against HIV over the last decade. But budget proposals delineate policy priorities, and in rejecting science and evidence along with other commonly understood health language, this Administration calls into question its commitment to science and the health of all communities, including racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities.

“Discouraging use and reference to “evidence-based” or “science-based,” is concerning enough. However, any attempt to remove “transgender” and “diversity” from CDC vocabulary would represent an outright dereliction of the stated duties of the agency. Such efforts are unacceptable and cannot go unanswered. Transgender people and people of color live under constant threat of systemic and specific discrimination and violence. Erasing them from official CDC documents ensures ongoing discrimination and undermines the ability of CDC to effectively respond to their health needs.

“Evidence suggests the transgender community is particularly vulnerable to HIV and STDs. As citizens and residents of this nation, they should be treated with fairness and respect. As human beings, they are entitled to dignity and affirming care.”

HVCS joins AIDS United, NASTAD, NCSD, NMAC, and The AIDS Institute in their pledge to remain committed to ensuring that diversity is celebrated by our public health system and that its work is rooted in science, not politics. We stand with transgender staff, constituents, clients, and family, and will not relent in our demands that their health and the health of all marginalized and minority communities be prioritized by this Administration and the U.S. government.

Read their press release here.

More info:
AIDS United (AU), NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), NMAC, and The AIDS Institute (TAI) are national non-partisan, non-profit organizations focused on ending HIV in the U.S. They have been working in partnership to identify and share resources to sustain successes and progress we have made in HIV and STD prevention, care and treatment in the United States.

Free HIV Home Testing Kits Offered By NYSDOH

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

bob style wigsAs part of the Governor’s plan to end the AIDS epidemic in New York State, the Department of Health’s AIDS Institute is pleased to announce a free statewide HIV Home Test Giveaway. This is an innovative strategy to address a gap in HIV testing among gay men, men who have sex with men (MSM), and transgender or gender non-conforming people who have sex with men.  The AI, in collaboration with New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and OraSure, the manufacturer of OraQuick® in-home HIV test, are making home HIV test kits available to eligible recipients now through July 7, 2017.
To be eligible to receive a free home test kit, participants must meet the following criteria: identify as a gay man; MSM; transgender or gender non-conforming person who has sex with men; be at least 18 years of age; reside in NYS (excluding NYC); and have never been diagnosed with HIV. If the participant is determined to be eligible, they will be asked to provide their email address where they will receive a discount code and instructions for redeeming a free HIV home test kit via OraSure’s website. Upon completion of the follow-up survey, participants will have the option to
receive a $20 electronic Amazon gift card. If the participant is determined to be ineligible, they will be referred to the AI website where there will be additional resources and information related to HIV testing.
Please visit to see if you’re eligible for a free home HIV test kit.

Service Providers: Join Your Colleagues for “Health Cares” an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Conference

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Several Dutchess County providers are banding together to present “Health Cares: A Conference for Providers” on Friday, April 28, 2017 from 9 am to 3 pm at Vassar College. The conference will focus on the LGBTQ+ community and access to healthcare.

The keynote speaker will be Yonah EtShalom, a nurse practitioner. They are the founding program director for Transgender Health Services and they have long been an advocate for transgender health issues and public health education programs. The conference will also cover cultural competency,  trans experiences in healthcare, intimate partner violence, and barriers to health care.

There is no cost to attend, and lunch will be provided. Registration is required: contact Emily Berkowitz at:, or register online at:

The conference will be held in Ely Hall-Aula at Vassar College, 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie.

CDC, NYS Recommend Meningococcal Vaccine for All HIV+ Individuals & Those At High-Risk

Friday, October 28th, 2016



The CDC and the New York State Department of Health says that people who are HIV+ or are high risk for becoming HIV+ are at increased risk for invasive meningococcal disease (IMD). They are recommending that adults who are HIV+, children older than 2 months who are HIV+, and those at high risk for new HIV infection (especially those who are good candidates for pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, which includes men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people) should get a meningococcal vaccine.

The vaccine is covered by Medicaid, ADAP and private insurance.

Invasive meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. The bacteria can invade the body causing serious illness, like meningitis. It can also cause septicemia—an infection of the bloodstream. Bacterial meningitis is very serious and can be deadly. Death can occur in as little as a few hours. While most people with meningitis recover, permanent disabilities such as brain damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities can result from the infection.

Detailed Information:

In response to epidemiological data indicating increased risk for certain sub-types of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) among people living with HIV, updated recommendations regarding meningococcal vaccination have been issued by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Specific vaccine recommendations are available for young children living with HIV, persons living with HIV and also persons at high risk for HIV infection, including people taking/ eligible for PrEP, including transgender individuals and MSM.

Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend that persons aged ≥ 2 months with HIV infection should receive meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) vaccine, either MenACWY-D (Menactra®), MenACWY-CRM (Menveo®) or, as age-appropriate, Hib-MenCY-TT (MenHibrix®, recommended for ages 2-18 months).1

This recommendation was made based on epidemiologic data demonstrating an increased risk of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) due to serogroups C, W and Y among HIV-infected persons in the United States.

HIV-infected persons have not been demonstrated to be at increased risk of serogroup B disease, and use of serogroup B (MenB) vaccine has not been studied in this group; for this reason MenB vaccine is not recommended for HIV-infected persons unless they have another indication for this vaccine.

HIV-infected individuals have suppressed immune responses to MenACWY vaccine, as well as waning of vaccine-induced immunity. For this reason, a multi-dose primary series and regular booster doses are necessary to maintain protection against IMD.

In response to the ACIP recommendations, the NYSDOH advises healthcare providers to administer MenACWY vaccine to:

  • All HIV-infected children and adults aged 2 months or older, and
  • HIV-negative individuals at ongoing high risk for HIV infection, to include
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM) who are candidates for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as described in the NYSDOH AIDS Institute Guidance for the Use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis to Prevent HIV Transmission”2 and Transgender individuals who are candidates for PrEP.

Vaccine costs and administration fees for HIV-positive individuals are reimbursable through the New York State Medicaid program and the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, as well as private insurance. MenACWY vaccine is covered under the Vaccines for Children (VFC) and Vaccines for Adults (VFA) programs for eligible children and adults.

MenACWY vaccine is also an allowable State Aid expense under Article 6 for LHDs unable to recoup the costs of vaccination through billing. Healthcare providers are reminded to report immediately both suspect and confirmed IMD cases to the LHD where the patient resides. Do not wait for laboratory confirmation to report. Contact information for LHDs can be found at

Healthcare providers are reminded to immediately report both suspect and confirmed IMD cases to the local health department where the patient resides.  Clinicians with questions regarding vaccine recommendations should contact the NYSDOH Bureau of Immunization at or 518-473-4437 or the AIDS Institute Office of the Medical Director at 212-417-4536.

Read the full announcement from the New York State Dept. of Health (PDF)

NYS Dept of Health Debuts New PrEP Website & Video Series

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

The AIDS Institute announced two new exciting resources on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV.

PrEP for Sex Video Series

This series of eight videos highlights the voices of men who are currently taking PrEP to prevent HIV infection.

Honest, forthright and insightful, these videos address the following topics:

  • Is PrEP Right for Me
  • Beginning the Process
  • Affordability
  • Remembering to Take PrEP
  • Condom Use
  • Why PrEP
  • Side Effects
  • PrEP and Emotions

PrEP Website

The AIDS Institute also unveiled a new website to unite the video series and public service announcements:

There is also a new text-message campaign. Users can text the word “PREP” to 69866 for personalized PrEP recommendations and resources.