LGBT Health Issues
A recent report, LGBT Health and Wellness Profile, issued recently in the United States details the disparity and paucity of health services offered to the gay community. Riverside County, located in the area known as the Inland Empire in California, is home to the third-highest population of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered people in the state and one of the highest concentrations of same-sex couples in the country.
In its midsection sits Palm Springs, a community with the third-highest LGBT population in the country, a gay mayor, and a vibrant LGBT scene. The county commissioned the study to better understand the health and wellness of its population and address gaps. “This report is very important because it is the first report that really highlights the health status of the LGBT community in Riverside County, and we’re hoping that (it) will provide information and data to help health care providers serve their patients better,” said Susan Harrington, director of the county Department of Public Health. “It also may encourage other local regional and state agencies to work with us to collect data on the health status of the LGBT population in a more complete way over time. Hopefully by putting this report out, this will really encourage others to ask the important questions so we can build the base of data and further assess the health needs and status of the LGBT community,” Harrington said.
Similar concerns exist in Puerto Vallarta. In August 2009, the SETAC Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Center officially opened in a quiet area of Old Town Puerto Vallarta. The purpose of the Center, located at Constitucion #427 on the corner of Manuel Dieguez, is to provide essential services to the GLBT community, including physical and mental health treatment and referrals, education, and recreation, in a safe and discrimination free atmosphere.
Puerto Vallarta is a unique and special place for many people, especially for those who are discriminated against and rejected in other areas of the country for their sexual orientation and for those who seek the opportunity to live openly in an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding. Puerto Vallarta has welcomed this community for many years, and it was for this reason that the need arose for the creation of the first GLBT Community Center in all of Mexico.
The SETAC Center offers Vallarta's GLBT community, their families and friends a variety of services meant to improve their physical, emotional and spiritual well being. For example, the Center offers free testing and counseling for HIV and other sexual transmitted illness and, in accordance with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, provides condoms to the general and high-risk populations. In addition, the SETAC Center currently offers services in both English and Spanish.
Creating a network between members of the GLBT and non-GLBT community allows opportunities for members to experience, learn and participate in the mutual development of our common community. As such, the Center has a referral system for low income people needing medical assistance. Additional services soon to be offered include monthly health brigades, as well as psychological services. For more information about the SETAC Community Center and the services offered, please visit setac.com.mx or by calling (322) 224-1974.