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U.S. News

Georgia: Gay Church Hosts Free Clinic

April 4, 2008

Rapid-result HIV tests, STD screening, blood pressure monitoring and eye exams are among health services to be offered at a free health clinic on April 12 at First Metropolitan Community Church of Atlanta.

Although several hundred people are expected to take part, the seven-hour event will be structured to provide time for individual consultations, said Dale Maddox, a registered nurse who works at Northside Hospital's oncology ward. "People will have one-on-one times with nurses and health professionals they normally wouldn't have, and it's free," she said.

The health fair's STD screening comes at an opportune time, given the recent CDC data showing a rise in syphilis cases, especially among men who have sex with men (MSM).

"Syphilis, like other STDs, can increase the likelihood of HIV transmission two- to five-fold," Dr. Hillard Weinstock, chief of surveillance in CDC's epidemiology and surveillance branch in the division of STD prevention, said during a recent media briefing. "For individuals already infected with HIV, syphilis may increase viral load, which can accelerate HIV disease progression and potential for HIV transmission. The CDC recommends that sexually active [MSM] get tested for syphilis, HIV, and other STDs at least annually."

The Feminist Women's Health Center will offer counseling to lesbians considering becoming pregnant. "We are one of the few providers in the South to offer this opportunity to women regardless of partner status or orientation," said Whitney Watts, the center's legislative organizing coordinator. In addition, "We will be there with our lesbian-friendly guide to STDs and our normal activism information, of course. We still hear from our lesbian clients that they are not susceptible to developing STDs -- and diseases, we know, do not discriminate."

The church is located at 1379 Tullie Rd., near the intersection of I-85 and North Druid Hills Road; telephone 404-325-4143.

Back to other news for April 2008

Adapted from:
Southern Voice (Atlanta)
4.04.2008; Matt Schafer

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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