It’s no secret that the Trans community in Texas continues to face challenges and discrimination even as the LGBT community has made significant strides towards public acceptance. Many Trans people face financial, emotional, and social hurdles on their transition journey, usually including access to healthcare and gender-affirming clothing.
In honor of National Transgender HIV Testing Day on April 18, Prism Health North Texas is working to meet two of those challenges with TRANSform Your Closet, an event held at the organization’s Worth Street Health Center on the Baylor University Medical Center Campus on Saturday, April 23.
Local Transgender individuals are invited to join the PHNTX Project Connect team for a free clothing swap, HIV testing and information about Prism’s healthcare services, and refreshments from 2 to 6 PM on April 23.
Those interested in attending may RSVP and share information about their clothing needs and preferences here. The Worth Street Health Center is located at 4004 Worth Street in Dallas, the event will be held on the second floor.
According to research by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it is estimated that approximately 1.4 million adults in the United States identify as transgender. Of those 1.4 million individuals, transgender women are at high risk of exposure to HIV, especially transgender women of color. PHNTX healthcare providers will be facilitating free HIV tests, as well as providing information about access to PrEP and other healthcare during the April 23rd event.
“Preventative HIV care is important for the Trans community not only because Trans women are at a higher risk of acquiring HIV, but because there is so much stigma around both HIV and the Trans community,” PHNTX Behavioral Intervention Services Team Lead Feliz Ruiz said. “Everyone, no matter how or who they identify as, needs to have access to all forms of healthcare no matter what. In addition to access, the healthcare setting needs to be a space where they feel comfortable, safe, and confident to access the services they need, including hormone therapy, HIV/STI testing, or PrEP. I am excited for this event in hopes that it gives individuals of Trans experience a chance to see what options they have for preventative services, ask all the questions they want to ask, and connect with their community and its allies!”
Held at the PHNTX Worth Street Health Center on the Baylor University Medical Center Campus at 4004 Worth Street in Dallas, the organization invites attendees to bring their own new or gently used clothing items to exchange with others, while also making use of the donated supply of clothing provided by PHNTX.
“For individuals of trans experience, having nice, gender affirming clothing is a part of you stepping into a new season of you. As you are embracing who you are even more, an item of clothing can change everything, it can make you feel better and it can make your life be uplifted,” PHNTX Policy, Advocacy, & Community Engagement Coordinator Sattie Nyachwaya said. “As a community accomplice, PHNTX needs to always be there waiting with resources like for this community as they have been stepped on and overlooked so many times.”
“Trans individuals exist, and they thrive,” Nyachwaya added.
About Prism Health North Texas:
Prism Health North Texas opened services in 1986 during the HIV/AIDS crisis in North Texas, through an initial grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Formed as AIDS Arms Network out of the Communities Foundation of Texas, PHNTX for the past 35 years has served the critical role of connecting people living with HIV to care and services in the area. PHNTX evolved to be a nationally recognized leader in delivering high-quality HIV and sexual health services, most recently expanding services to address the alarming rise in sexually transmitted infections in Dallas County and North Texas. Roughly 30% of people living with HIV in North Texas receive medical care and support at one of the four health centers.
PHNTX is committed to providing healthcare for all North Texans in a non-judgmental and affirming environment. The organization strives to remove the barriers that prevent any individual from accessing quality healthcare. PHNTX stands for health equity, especially for marginalized populations including people living with HIV, LGBTQIA+, and ethnic minorities. Every individual has the right to affordable, accessible health care and the opportunity to attain their highest level of health.