The inaugural National Transgender HIV Testing Day (NTHTD) was held last April 18th in 2016.
“NTHTD is a day to recognize the importance of routine HIV testing, status awareness and continued focus on HIV prevention and treatment efforts among transgender and gender non-binary people. The initiative encourages community-based organizations, health jurisdictions and HIV prevention programs to host local transgender HIV testing community events and/or develop trans-specific HIV testing campaign materials and resources,” said the federal government website, designated as a resource on HIV and AIDS. It is important to note that AIDS.gov will change over to HIV.gov over this 2017 spring.
T-Gurlz Rock RVA is the Richmond response to this call for action in communities; this event, hosted by Nationz Foundation, will start at 7pm and feature some local fashion designers, entertainers and hairstylists.
“I believe Zakia, who has founded Nationz and also T-Gurls Rock, a support group for trans-women, is holding an event to encourage people to get tested and get connected to services,” said Jenn Gallienne, a Trans Health Coordinator at Health Brigade, formally known as Fan Free Clinic. “I believe she is going to have testing there but also a fashion show and some fun stuff going on.”
While the focus of the event will be on raising awareness of trans-specific health resources in the community, there will be all sorts of fun things going on like drag entertainers and a raffle. One of the health resources in the community, Health Brigade, will be in attendance tabling to share information with attendees and network.
“So [Health Brigade] does hormone therapy [for] anyone that wants to either start their hormones or continue their hormones. We do it based on the informed-consent model. We offer counseling, behavioral health and employment support if people are looking for jobs,” said Gallienne. “[We offer] also offer primary care and have a support group for trans identified individuals as well. We offer HIV/STI testing as well as PrEP for folks that eligible”
Health Brigade is one of several resources in the Richmond community being highlighted for the benefit and knowledge of the trans community.
“The trans community are often reluctant to seek healthcare or sometimes have a lack of healthcare access because of non-trained providers,” said Gallienne. “I want folks to know that Health Brigade is a space for the trans community to get connected to medical care.”
T-Gurls Rock RVA is an event that is not only set-up to be fun and informational, but also designed as a resource in and of itself. The event pulls from the talented and helpful in the LGBTQIA community of Richmond, specifically for trans people.
With this community of folks placed first, effective conversations that speak on the cross-sections of HIV testing or prevention and what it means to be trans are started.
“[This is a day] to bring awareness to the trans community as far as HIV goes” said Gallienne. “Often times when we talk about HIV testing , the trans identity is left out”
“I also want folks to know that if folks are HIV positive they can begin or continue their hormone therapy while simultaneously taking their HIV medications, we will work with folks to ensure this happens”
Diversity Richmond is located at 1407 Sherwood Ave Richmond, VA 23220. Find out more about the event here!