Minding Your Health - Let AIDS Day Inspire Education

World AIDS Day was Dec. 1, but throughout this month, we take time to educate, honor and engage the community in learning more about HIV and AIDS. The national theme for this year is “Working Together for an AIDS-Free Generation” (http://1.usa.gov/TgfXfU).  The United Nations’ World AIDS Day theme is “Getting to Zero” http://www.un.org/en/events/aidsday/.

Even as we make progress in our battle against HIV and AIDS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that nearly one in five HIV-infected individuals is unaware of his or her status. We know that social and economic factors play a role in increasing the risk of infection. Not only that, but the CDC reports that the Midwest is the only region in the nation in which HIV transmission has increased in recent years! 

This is why it is so important to continue to promote testing and prevention education, as well as target HIV prevention to specific communities who are at higher risk (such as African American men and women, Latino men and women, and those dealing with shame). I encourage you to learn more about the current state of HIV and AIDS by reading the CDC’s four-page informational handout titled “Today’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic” at: www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/HIVFactSheets/TodaysEpidemic-508.pdf

Conversion therapy lawsuit: In September’s edition of Minding Your Health, I discussed California’s law banning mental health providers from practicing Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) with minors. SOCE is sometimes called “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy” and is a practice that claims to cure people from being gay. SOCE is considered unethical by nearly every major medical authority in the nation, as there is no evidence supporting its effectiveness.  Not only that, but the false idea that homosexuality is an illness was disproven nearly 40 years ago. There is also significant evidence supporting the notion that these practices attempting to cure a person’s gayness actually cause elevated rates of suicide, depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. This is because those who attempt to change their sexual orientation are often experiencing intense shame surrounding a core component of who they are. They may be desperate to find relief for this internal conflict, but often have limited education about what it means to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and have little to no exposure to positive LGBT role models. 
Mental health practitioners who practice SOCE have misled their clients based on the premise that being gay is wrong, is a disease, or is something that can be fixed. 

Well, finally, Americans are taking action against these unethical mental health providers. Recently, four men, from both New York and Utah, filed the nation’s first lawsuit against conversion therapists under New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Protection Act, which protects individuals from fraudulent or deceptive business practices. The suit is aimed at JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing), located in New Jersey, whose therapist instructed a client to take off all of his clothing and hold his penis in front of a mirror. 

This so-called technique, along with a variety of other disturbing practices aimed at reinforcing a client’s masculinity, is finally being scrutinized in a judicial setting. “Their lawsuit should put all conversion therapists on notice that they can be held accountable,” stated Samuel Wolfe, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center.  These two articles have more information about the lawsuit: www.cnn.com/2012/11/27/us/conversion-therapy-lawsuit/index.html?eref=igoogledmn_topstories  and www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/55350687-78/gay-therapy-conversion-levin.html.csp

The LGBT-Affirmative Therapists Guild of Greater Kansas City comprises mental health providers who strive to be culturally competent when working with LGBT individuals and their families. The organization believes that accepting an identity as an LGBT individual can be a positive outcome of the helping process and that a client can achieve a positive identity as a LGBT person when internalized homophobia and social homophobia are decreased (http://lgbtguild.com/positions.html).  The organization also asserts that Sexual Orientation Change Efforts are unethical and that a practitioner who engages in such a practice should be held accountable. 

If you or someone you know was subjected to therapy geared at changing sexual orientation, the guild would like to hear about it.  You can contact a representative of the guild at: info@lgbtguild.com

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

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by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

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Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

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