Blog

Bisexuality and Health Care Disparities

ActionAIDS, Philadelphia’s Dining Out For Life ASO, posted an  article about Bisexuality and Health Care Disparities from guest blogger Lillian Klasen, a 2014 summer intern from Temple University’s Department of Public Health in the ActionAIDS Prevention Department. Lillian is now working as a Benefits Outreach Specialist, screening and applying for seniors’ benefits at Benefits Data Trust:

The challenges and health disparities that face the LGBT community won’t come as a surprise to ActionAIDS employees – or in general to readers of this blog. However, it is worth noting that data and research confirm the heightened risk for a range of negative health and social outcomes that bisexual-identifying individuals face when compared to their gay and lesbian peers.

According to a 2013 report by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bisexual women are at the highest risk for sexual violence: “a staggering 61 percent of bisexual women experience rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner,” while 35 percent of heterosexual women and 43 percent of lesbian women reported this type of violence. Further, Healthy People 2020 notes that bisexual women are less likely to have health insurance and more likely to have difficulty obtaining medical care, experience higher rates of breast cancer and heart disease, and report a lower quality of life. Bisexual men are 50 percent more likely to live in poverty than gay men and thus face challenges in gaining access to needed health care.

Finally, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has noted that “many, if not most, bisexual people do not come out to their health care providers or to researchers due to judgments that silence, stereotypes that shame, and assumptions that erase bisexual identity.” Similarly, a keyconclusion of the Ontario Public Health Association is that those who identify as bisexual are less likely to come out to their healthcare provider than their gay or lesbian peers. As such, importantly, there are missed opportunities to talk about a client/patient’s sexual behavior and discuss options for reducing their risk for HIV and STIs.

One way to create a more inclusive environment is to ensure that providers understand some of the misconceptions that surround bisexuality and result in biphobia and bi-invisibility. Some of these errors include:

  • Only considering a person’s sexual orientation based on their current partner’s gender
  • Believing bisexuality is just a phase or that people who identify as bisexual are confused
  • People who identify as bisexual are promiscuous or do not want to have monogamous relationship

Finally, some people just dismiss bisexuality entirely, believing that a person who comes out as bisexual will inevitably come out as “fully gay.”

While more research focused specifically on the health care issues facing bisexual individuals is needed, the data we do have is quite compelling and should give greater urgency for strategies ensure that we take appropriate steps to prevent and treat HIV in this population. Given its individualized, comprehensive approach to care, ActionAIDS is well positioned to support this population and reduce the burden of HIV among its bisexual clients by ensuring an inclusive environment for people to discuss their sexual behaviors. Hopefully, we can inspire others to do the same.

–Lillian Klasen

 

ActionAIDS is Dining Out For Life’s first AIDS service organization and will be celebrating 25 years of this event on April 30, 2015. For more info, visit: http://www.diningoutforlife.com/philadelphia.

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A Day at a Dining Out For Life ASO – The Damien Center

Indianapolis’ Dining Out For Life AIDS service organization, The Damien Center, was featured on the AIDS United Blog:

Picture a day with us. Our lobby is packed. Both client computers are in use for job searches. A young woman is requesting an emergency appointment with housing, since her job ended unexpectedly. A gentleman has re-entered care and our staff is walking him through available services. 

A woman has visited the food pantry and now waits for her appointment in the medical clinic. One patient is learning about health insurance options while the partner of an individual living with HIV is learning about preventive medications. The testing center is busy, helping clients learn their status and explore different prevention methods.

Then, an HIV+ patient, Michelle*, steps out of her care specialist’s office, a mix of relief and pride on her face. In 2013, she re-entered care after having dropped out of care years before. Her viral load was dangerously high – over one million. Don’t know much about HIV viral loads? The number represents the amount of HIV in the body, and Michelle was in risky territory.

Our intense personalized plan to support Michelle included daily phone calls to be sure she stuck to her strict medical regimen and weekly home visits. We walked alongside her, helping her eliminate the barriers to care that she was contending with.

That’s how our approach works – every patient works with our staff to develop an individualized care plan that provides the specific support they need to get their health back on track. The end goal? To empower patients to get in care and stay in care.

It’s been six months, and Michelle has just learned that she has achieved an undetectable viral load. The most amazing thing about Michelle’s story? It’s not unusual for our patients. The most effective way to prevent new HIV infections is to identify every individual living with HIV and provide them with the support they need to achieve undetectable viral loads. Our staff has helped Linkage to Care patients achieve an average viral load reduction of 93% within their first year in the program precisely through stories just like this one. 

Our comprehensive approach changes lives, and remarkable outcomes like this are our norm. On our website, you can explore more about what we do to empower our patients as well as help us restore health to our patients and eliminate the threat of HIV for future generations. Help us make more incredible stories like Michelle’s possible in 2015.

*Client’s name has been changed.

 

Dining Out For Life in Indianapolis is held on the International Date (April 30, 2015). To learn more, visit the city’s DOFL page: http://www.diningoutforlife.com/indianapolis.

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Ambassador Jermaine spreading the word about Dining Out For Life last year at the Indy Pita Pit Downtown.

 

PHOTOS: Mondo Guerra Love Responsibly Legacy Reveal

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This World AIDS Day, Subaru Of America, Inc., in collaboration with HIV-positive designer Mondo Guerra revealed a one-of-a-kind wrapped 2015 Legacy as part of its #LoveResponsibly campaign to commemorate the auto manufacturer’s support of Dining Out For Life. Hosts included Dining Out For Life board member Jonathan Bryn Warner, who conveyed the importance of HIV testing and awareness to the crowd at the Annex in Miami, Florida.”I challenge you to know your status, talk to your friends about your status, get tested and find out,” said Warner. To view more photos of the event, check out photos from event blog World Red Eye and Subaru.

 

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World AIDS Day Reveal Mondo Guerra 2015 Subaru Legacy

 

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Credit: Bridget Siegfried

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Credit: Nick D’Amico and Dana Slifer

On World AIDS Day, Subaru Of America, Inc., in collaboration with HIV-positive designer Mondo Guerra revealed a one-of-a-kind wrapped 2015 Legacy as part of its Love Responsiblytm campaign to commemorate the auto manufacturer’s 20th year of support in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The vehicle debuted at a private reception at The Annex, a pop-up space in the Wynwood Miami Design District on December 1, World AIDS Day and the start of Art Basel Miami.

Love Responsibly is a social action campaign that encourages people from all walks of life to participate in Dining Out For Life® hosted by Subaru®, an annual fundraiser that benefits AIDS Service Organizations in 60 cities throughout North America. Since Subaru teamed-up with Dining Out For Life, over $30 million has been raised in the crucial fight against HIV/AIDS. “The purpose of the Love Responsibly initiative is two-fold: To expand our association with Dining Out For Life into a year-round initiative that encourages people, including Subaru retailers, to volunteer their time or other resources locally, and to encourage discussion within all communities about what more can be done to help in the fight against AIDS,” reported Tim Tagye, Promotions and Sponsorship Manager, Subaru of America. “To launch this on World AIDS Day, while highlighting the talents and advocacy work of Mondo Guerra is a demonstration of social responsibility that we at Subaru are proud of.”

Guerra’s innovative style and bold designs have captured the fashion world’s imagination, while his work in HIV/AIDS advocacy has helped cultivate an important conversation about the epidemic. Mondo revealed his HIV-positive status on Project Runway season eight, after he created the challenge-winning print “Positivity” that was inspired by his own experience. “I’m extremely honored to contribute to the Love Responsibly campaign because it’s centered on corporate, social and individual responsibility”, said Guerra. “I‘m inspired by the story-telling, it’s empowering and heartfelt, and to tell that story through a creative expression that becomes the exterior of an automobile – well that’s like creating the ultimate street art”.

What you can do: Take part in World AIDS Day and other events like Dining Out For Life. Learn the facts about HIV/AIDS, get tested and engage in conversation – #loveresponsibly.

About Dining Out For Life

Dining Out For Life began in Philadelphia in 1991 and has since grown into an international event held in 60+ cities across North America – raising an average $4.25 million annually. The idea behind the single-day event is simple and effective: Dine Out, Fight AIDS. Participating restaurants donate a percentage of the day’s food sales, which goes to local organizations to fund care, prevention, education, testing, counseling and other essential HIV/AIDs services. For more information, visit www.diningoutforlife.com. For updates, follow Dining Out For Life on Twitter: @DineOut4Life.

About Subaru of America, Inc.

Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered at a zero-landfill office in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts, and accessories through a network of more than 600 retailers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants, and Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. For additional information, visit media.subaru.com.

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Media Contact: “15 Minutes” Inc. Laura Weber laura@15minutesinc.com

Palm Springs Achieves Record-Breaking Year

Dining Out For Life in Palm Springs, California was hot, hot, hot! The event, which raises funds for Desert AIDS Project, marked a year of success, with more than $175,000 raised, surpassing both last year’s total and the ASO’s goal for this year.

“A big, BIG thanks to all of those restaurants and other businesses that got behind promoting their participation in Dining Out For Life in such a significant way, whether through social media, word-of-mouth or by including us in their regular advertising,” said Darrell Tucci, D.A.P.’s Chief Development Officer.

HIV activist and designer Mondo Guerra and representatives from Subaru of America were among the many participants of the Palm Springs event, dining at Jose Garces’ Tinto Restaurant.

Read the full article here.

 

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Dining Out For Life® in Asheville Accomplishes A Record-Breaking Year

Dining Out For Life® in Asheville achieved a record-breaking year with the annual event raising over $175,000 to support Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP)’s misson of providing case-managed care to those affected by the AIDS virus and help continue the organization’s prevention and education programs. The Asheville area’s Dining Out For Life consists of approximately 100 participating restaurants.

“I am so very proud to be a part of such a giving, caring community here in WNC, who realize that HIV/AIDS is still a problem, not only in our area, but worldwide and generously give to such an important cause,” stated Event Chair, Harry Brown. Read the full press release here.

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Subaru Thanks You!

With your help, Dining Out For Life® raises more than $4 Million each year for HIV/AIDS services. As a special thank you for your continued support, our Proud Host Sponsor Subaru of America invites you to participate in this special, limited offer (June 15,2014 – Dec. 31, 2014):

Subaru VIP Offer

Take Food Photos for a Chance to Win a Delicious Meal!

DOFL Instagram campaign

We hope you are because we can’t wait to drool all over your delicious pictures! If you use Instagram® to post about all of the juicy parts of your life, your photos can win you $100 we hope you’ll use at your favorite Dining Out For Life® hosted by Subaru® restaurant!

Entering is simple! Here are the rules: When eating at a participating Dining Out For Life® restaurant between now and April 30, 2014, snap a great food-related photo, upload it on your Instagram page and use the hashtag #DineOutFightAIDS. If you’re an overachiever, you’ll even “tag” or check-in at your restaurant.

We will choose 5 lucky winners to win a $100 gift card. Winners will be announced on April 30th via the Dining Out For Life® Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & diningoutforlife.com.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram (username: @diningout4life). We can’t wait to see where you’re dining and what you’re eating!

And now for the “official” legal stuff…

 

Dining Out For Life® Terms and Conditions for Instagram contest

#DineOutFightAIDS

CONDITIONS OF PARTICIPATION: The contest is offered only to legal residents of the United States who are users of the mobile app Instagram and over 18 years old.

PERIOD OF ACTION: March 19, 2014 to April 30, 2014 at 12:00 PM (EST).

OPERATION AND AWARDS:

1. The theme of the contest is “”Dine Out. Fight AIDS”, users should take food-related photos at any participating Dining Out for Life restaurant.

2. To qualify for participation in the contest users must identify photograph with the hashtag #DineOutFightAIDS in its description when publishing it on Instagram. No other registration to any application is required.

3. Only images that meet the theme of the contest and include the hashtag in the description will be considered valid contest entries.

4. The contest is valid for all the pictures uploaded from 2nd of April through April 30, 2014 at 12:00 PM (EST) to Instagram with the tag #DineOutFightAIDS, and fulfilling the established theme.

5. Enter as many photos as you want within the contest dates for an increased chance of winning.