October 30, 2012
Even though HIV/AIDS rates have been on the decline, transgender women of color are still at a high risk of contracting the disease. However, one Jamaica, NY, health clinic, the Queens Health Center, is part of a network of clinics that have been given $1.5 million over the next five years to reduce some of the exposure and provide care and evaluation services to the transgender population. The network, Community Healthcare Network, a New York City-based organization, was one of nine in the country to receive the grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.
Community Healthcare Network President and CEO Catherine Abate stated, "This grant is a testament to our leadership in treating the medically underserved and disenfranchised, something we have been doing since our founding in 1981." During the years 2007 through 2011, the network, through its Transgender Family Program, provided health services with encouraging results to approximately 700 transgender persons at its clinic in Jamaica and another in the South Bronx. Overall, the network's program reduced the prevalence of HIV from 44 percent in 2007 to 28 percent in 2011.
The health care network will utilize the grant in Jamaica to put into practice its Transgender Women Engagement and Entry to Care Project, called the TWEET Care Project. Peer leaders will reach out to the transgender community to identify HIV-positive transgender women and connect them to the care they often lack, due to prejudices and stigmas. The goal is that over the five-year period, Community Healthcare Network hopes to receive 792 referrals to the project and provide 198 HIV-positive transgender women of color with care.