Open Hearts Open Minds

December 1 is World Aids Day

World AIDS Day, held each year on December 1, is an opportunity to celebrate and support global efforts to prevent new HIV infections, increase HIV awareness and knowledge, and support those living with HIV.

Since World AIDS Day was first observed more than 30 years ago, progress to prevent and treat HIV has been extraordinary. HIV medicines are available to help people with HIV live long, healthy lives and prevent HIV transmission. In addition, effective HIV prevention methods, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), are available. (https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/understanding-hiv-aids/hiv-aids-awareness-days/173/world-aids-day)

HIV and Youth

In 2017, youth aged 13 to 24a made up 21% (8,164) of the 38,739 new HIV diagnosesb in the United States and dependent areas.c Youth with HIV are the least likely of any age group to be linked to care in a timely manner and have a suppressed viral load. Addressing HIV in youth requires that young people have access to information and tools they need to reduce their risk, make healthy decisions, and get treatment and care if they have HIV.  (https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/age/youth/index.html)

 

HIV in Young People (https://www.amfar.org/about-hiv-and-aids/facts-and-stats/statistics--united-states/)

  • Youth aged 13 to 24 accounted for more than 1 in 5 new HIV diagnoses in 2017.
  • Young men accounted for 87% of new HIV diagnoses among youth in 2017; young women for 13%. About 96% of young men acquired HIV through male to male sexual contact; about 86% of young women acquired HIV through heterosexual contact.
  • Among people aged 13-24, an estimated 44% of those living with HIV at the end of 2016 didn’t know they were infected.
  • Youth with HIV are the least likely of any age group to be linked to care in a timely manner and have a suppressed viral load. Only 25% of youth living with HIV in 2015 were virally suppressed.

 The PGHS GSA will be handing out red ribbons in honor of World AIDS Day on Monday December 2nd during lunches.  Please stop by and pledge your support to end the spread of HIV through education and awareness.

 

 

PGHS Royals Gay Straight Alliance

The Royals GSA is a student- run club which provides a safe place for students to meet, support each other, talk about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and work to end homophobia and transphobia.

GSA provides support for students who are struggling with their identity or experiencing negativity within the school. It is a safe place for students to express themselves.

GSA is also a social group. We provide a sense of community and a space for LGBTQ and straight ally youth to build a social network where their identity is respected. It is a great way to build and spread the community of PGHS with all of our students.

GSA  is also a vehicle to take action and create change in our school, community, state and even country. Many members educate themselves and the school community about sexual orientation and gender identity issues.

The Royals GSA will work with our students, teachers and administrators to make our school a warm and welcoming community for all of our students.

Student members of the GSA come from all walks of life. We are racially and culturally diverse. We are straight, gay, pan, bi, questioning and/ or transgender and we are accepting of all members.  If interested, please email or see Mrs. Beasley for the GSA application.  There are no fees or dues required to join the GSA. 

Why do we have GSA in our school?

Because we care about all of our students!

Thanks to the Trevor Project (https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/preventing-suicide/facts-about-suicide/), here are some statistics:

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24.1
  • LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth.2
  • LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.2
  • Of all the suicide attempts made by youth, LGB youth suicide attempts were almost five times as likely to require medical treatment than those of heterosexual youth.2
  • Suicide attempts by LGB youth and questioning youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to result in injury, poisoning, or overdose that requires treatment from a doctor or nurse, compared to their straight peers.2
  • In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.3
  • LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.4
  • 1 out of 6 students nationwide (grades 9–12) seriously considered suicide in the past year. [5]
  • Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average.6
SOURCES:

[1] CDC, NCIPC. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2010) {2013 Aug. 1}.  Available from:www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars.

[2] CDC. (2016). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[3] James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.

[4] Family Acceptance Project™. (2009). Family rejection as a predictor of negative health outcomes in white and Latino lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults. Pediatrics. 123(1), 346-52.

[5] CDC. (2016). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[6] IMPACT. (2010). Mental health disorders, psychological distress, and suicidality in a diverse sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths. American Journal of Public Health. 100(12), 2426-32

 

According to the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth.htm)  Schools can implement programs  including GSAs to help our students!

 

"Schools can implement evidence-based policies, procedures, and activities designed to promote a healthy environment for all youth, including LGB students. For example, research has shown that in schools with LGB support groups (such as gay-straight alliances), LGB students were less likely to experience threats of violence, miss school because they felt unsafe, or attempt suicide than those students in schools without LGB support groups.8 A recent study found that LGB students had fewer suicidal thoughts and attempts when schools had gay-straight alliances and policies prohibiting expression of homophobia in place for 3 or more years.9

To help promote health and safety among LGB youth, schools can implement the following policies and practices (with accompanying citations)

  • Encourage respect for all students and prohibit bullying, harassment, and violence against all students.10
  • Identify “safe spaces”, such as counselors’ offices or designated classrooms, where LGB youth can receive support from administrators, teachers, or other school staff.11
  • Encourage student-led and student-organized school clubs that promote a safe, welcoming, and accepting school environment (e.g., gay-straight alliances or gender and sexuality alliances, which are school clubs open to youth of all sexual orientations and genders).11-13
  • Ensure that health curricula or educational materials include HIV, other STD, and pregnancy prevention information that is relevant to LGB youth (such as ensuring that curricula or materials use language and terminology.11,14
  • Provide trainings to school staff on how to create safe and supportive school environments for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and encourage staff to attend these trainings.11,15
  • Facilitate access to community-based providers who have experience providing health services, including HIV/STD testing and counseling, social, and psychological services to LGBTQ youth.11,16"
References
  1. Espelage DL, Aragon SR, Birkett M. Homophobic teasing, psychological outcomes, and sexual orientation among high school students: What influence do parents and schools have? Cdc-pdf[PDF – 104 KB]External School Psychology Review 2008;37:202–216.
  2. Coker TR, Austin SB, Schuster MA. The health and health care of lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents.External Annual Review of Public Health 2010;31:457–477.
  3. Kann L, Olsen EO, McManus T, et al. Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Related Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12 – United States and Selected Sites, 2015. MMWR Surveill Summ 2016; 65(9): 1-202.
  4. Bouris A, Everett BG, Heath RD, Elsaesser CE, Neilands TB. Effects of Victimization and Violence on Suicidal Ideation and Behaviors Among Sexual Minority and Heterosexual AdolescentsExternal. LGBT Health 2016; 3(2): 153-61.
  5. Huebner DM, Thoma BC, Neilands TB. School victimization and substance use among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adolescents.External Prev Sci 2015; 16(5): 734-43.
  6. Russell ST, Ryan C, Toomey RB, Diaz RM, Sanchez J. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adolescent school victimization: implications for young adult health and adjustment.External Journal of School Health. 2011;81(5):223-30.
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Surveillance Report, 2014; vol. 26. Published November 2015. Accessed October 2016.
  8. Goodenow C, Szalacha L, Westheimer K. School support groups, other school factors, and the safety of sexual minority adolescents.External Psychology in the Schools 2006;43:573–89.
  9. Saewcy EM, Konishi C, Rose HA, Homma Y. School-based strategies to reduce suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and discrimination among sexual minority and heterosexual adolescents in Western Canada.External International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies 2014;1:89‒112.
  10. Hatzenbuehler ML, Keyes KM. Inclusive anti-bullying policies reduce suicide attempts in lesbian and gay youth.External J Adolesc Health. 2013; 53(1 suppl):S21—S26.
  11. Hatzenbuehler ML, Birkett M, Van Wagenen A, Meyer IH. Protective school climates and reduced risk for suicide ideation in sexual minority youthExternal. Am J Pub Health. 2014;104(2):279-286.
  12. Saewcy EM, Konishi C, Rose HA, Homma Y. School-based strategies to reduce suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and discrimination among sexual minority and heterosexual adolescents in Western Canada.External International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies 2014;1:89‒112.
  13. Heck NC, Livingston NA, Flentje A, Oost K, Stewart BT, Cochran BN. Reducing risk for illicit drug use and prescription drug misuse: High school gay-straight alliances and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.External Addictive Behaviors. 2014;39:824-828.
  14. Mustanski B, Greene GJ, Ryan D, Whitton SW. Feasibility, Acceptability, and Initial Efficacy of an Online Sexual Health Promotion Program for LGBT Youth: The Queer Sex Ed Intervention.External J Sex Res 2015; 52(2): 220-30.
  15. De Pedro KT, Esqueda MC, Gilreath TD. School Protective Factors and Substance Use Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adolescents in California Public Schools. LGBT HealthExternal. 2017 Jun;4(3):210-216. doi: 10.1089/lgbt.2016.0132. Epub 2017 May 12.
  16. José A. Bauermeister, Emily S. Pingel, Laura Jadwin-Cakmak, Gary W. Harper, Keith Horvath, Gretchen Weiss, and Patricia Dittus. Acceptability and Preliminary Efficacy of a Tailored Online HIV/STI Testing Intervention for Young Men who have Sex with Men: The Get Connected! Program.External AIDS Behav. 2015 Oct; 19(10): 1860–1874.
  17. Bouris A, Guilamo-Ramos V, Pickard A, Shiu C, Loosier PS, Dittus P, Gloppen K, Waldmiller JM. A systematic review of parental influences on the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth: time for new public health research and practice agenda.External Journal of Primary Prevention 2010;3:273–309.
  18. Ryan C, Russell ST, Huebner D, Diaz R, Sanchez J. Family acceptance in adolescence and the health of LGBT young adults.External J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Nurs 2010; 23(4): 205-13.
  19. Ryan C, Huebner D, Diaz RM, Sanchez J. Family rejection as a predictor of negative health outcomes in white and Latino lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults.External Pediatrics 2009;123:346–352.
  20. Puckett JA, Woodward EN, Mereish EH, Pantalone DW. Parental Rejection Following Sexual Orientation Disclosure: Impact on Internalized Homophobia, Social Support, and Mental Health.External LGBT Health 2015; 2(3): 265-9.

 

Resources if you need help!

Youth Support

The Trevor Project has trained counselors available 24/7 if you need to talk, text, or chat: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/ , 1-866-488-7386

Side by Side RVA has youth programs, support groups and a Youth support line http://www.sidebysideva.org/

Youth Support Line - 888-644-4390     Text - 804-793-9999

 

Parent and Family Support

PFLAG https://pflag.org/about

PFLAG Richmond https://www.pflagofrichmond.org/

Local and National Resources: https://www.pflagofrichmond.org/resources

Family Acceptance Project http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/overview

 

Get Involved!

Join GSA!

You can get an application from Ms. Beasley in room F-18 or off the bulletin board outside the F Wing Cafeteria Doors.  We are here for support, to advocate change, to educate and to have some fun! You can join at any time during the year and there are no dues. 

If you just need a safe place, come by Room F-18 or visit one of your teacher, administrator, or counselor allies in the buildings. Many have ally stickers in the classroom windows so you can find them. Just follow the rainbows!

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