Chicago, Illinois (PRWEB) February 11, 2013
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (formerly Children’s Memorial Hospital) opened the Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention in Chicago’s Uptown community. Located at 4711 North Broadway Street, the Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention promotes outreach and education strategies for preventing the onset of HIV in adolescents and young adults, as well as medication and treatments to patients of limited means.
“The move of our center to the Uptown community is critical in reaching the youth that is most prone to contracting HIV or those that are unaware that they are currently infected,” says Robert Garofalo, MD, Director of the Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention at Lurie Children’s. “Being in closer proximity to our patient population will allow the Center to conduct in depth evaluations, which will result in better health and quality of life for our patients.”
Garofalo also works with an interdisciplinary team at Lurie Children’s to serve transgender children and adolescents. “We have 25 to 30 patients but we get at least one to two new patients a month,” said Garofalo. “There are so little resources in the Midwest for this underserved population that they are coming here for care. We also know that for the older youth we need to focus on HIV prevention.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 50 adolescents and young adults each day acquire HIV through risky behavior. The adolescent/young adult populations most susceptible to this disease include, but are not limited to, homeless, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.
“Our number one priority is to ensure that these adolescents and teens are receiving the proper education on this disease,” says Garofalo who is also an assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Our programs address protection from acquiring and transmitting HIV, encourage HIV testing and early treatment, and empower this high risk population to make safer decisions about their health and behavior.”
The Center is also engaged in several novel outreach initiatives that are partially funded through a grant from the Chicago Department of Public Health, including a linkage-to-care intervention for HIV-positive young people using the State of Illinois AIDS/HIV & STD hotline system. Through this initiative, young adults have access to a free and anonymous service that connects them to a linkage-to-care counselor for HIV-positive adolescents and young adults seeking medical care within the city of Chicago.
“This move is essential to our community-based care initiatives as it allows us to partner with other Uptown nonprofit organizations that serve the same target community most prone to this disease,” says Garofalo.
To learn more about the efforts of the Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention, visit http://www.chicagochildrensresearch.org/gender/.
Lurie Children’s is one of the top children’s hospitals in the country according to U.S.News & World Report. It is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and one of only a handful of U.S. children’s hospitals with a dedicated pediatric research center.