Archive for the ‘Health Services’ Category
This week, Head & Hands headed over to the Young Parents Program (YPP) to see what has motivated some of the program’s participants to walk in Ca Marche.
Today at the YPP, parents and kids are in full Ca Marche prep-mode, getting their swag ready for the walk.
For a variety of reasons, the youth we spoke to preferred to keep their identities confidential, but their touching remarks attest to the importance of supporting Head & Hands’ unique youth health services through events like Ca Marche, which raises funds and awareness to support many Montreal groups working on research, prevention, and treatment of HIV/AIDS.
The parents were asked why they were walking in Ca Marche?, and why they attended Head & Hands’ Young Parents Program?
One parent said that her mother had been living with AIDS for 19 years now, so it was an issue that she has been affected by her whole life. Meanwhile, the YPP has been a sanctuary of sorts for her and many others: “It lets me get out of the house, helps to not be alone. And my kids can hang out with the other English kids, which is more rare at daycare”.
Another participant chimed in: “YPP broke my isolation from Elizabeth House [a private rehabilitation centre for young mothers]. You know, when I was there, I couldn’t talk to anyone. I felt alone. The YPP helped change that, and I’ve been coming since mid-december of last year!”
Another parent was adamant about her show of solidarity: “I know girls who have worked the streets, and have been infected by HIV. I’ve been there myself, and I’m lucky to have come out clean”.
The last parent we talked spoke courageously and with hope, despite fighting to hold back the tears. Someone close to her heart – a sibling – contracted HIV a few years back.
“It’s very taboo. I mean, she lives a normal life. It’s easier in 2014 than it was back then, but it’s hard to know someone you love has it.”
This parent has been affiliated with Head & Hands on and off for a long time. When she became pregnant and was afraid to tell her parents, she came to H&H. We proposed attending YPP, and though at first she was skeptical because she thought it was your average child protection agency, she quickly turned around when she started attending.
“I feel depression, you know. It’s hard getting off the couch sometimes. But it’s energizing for me to come here to the center to get things off my mind, and hang out with the other parents”
By now, she’s so confident that YPP is a great program for youth in her position that she even brought her roommate, who was attending YPP for the first time that day.
Our last parent left us with some uplifting words about why she is dancing in Ca Marche: “I’m going to dance because dancing makes me feel good! You dance to celebrate everything about who you are”.
If you’d like to donate directly to the YPP, please contact Allyson (email@example.com)
Do you have a penis? Does getting tested for STIs (sexually transmitted infections) make you nervous? In case you didn’t know, Head & Hands does urine testing (not a urethral swab) for chlamydia and gonorrhea. It’s painless! All you have to do is pee in a cup!
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two of the most common STIs out there, so if you’ve ever had unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex you’re at risk. Youth under 25 are especially at risk.
Symptoms for people with penises include burning when you pee, penile and/or anal discharge, itching of the penis and/or testicular pain. But here’s the thing – only 50% of infected people experience these symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to get tested. Both chlamydia and gonorrhea are easily treated with antibiotics when someone tests positive. Knowing your status can help you protect yourself and your sexual partners. While you’re at it you can also get tested for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B with a simple blood test.
If you’re between the ages of 12-25, come on down to the medical clinic at Head & Hands and give us a urine sample!
Today on the blog, we’re looking back to August 10, when almost 400 members and allies of Montreal’s trans* community took to the streets to demonstrate our strength as a community and call upon the Quebec government to follow through on its commitments towards respecting trans* rights. This powerful event was organized by the collectif Participes, a recently-formed group of dedicated, creative, and inspiring trans* youth!
Last year, the government passed a law promising to alleviate the discriminatory barriers faced by trans* people who want to legally register their gender. Almost a year later, all clauses of this law have been put into action except the ones dealing with trans* rights. Meanwhile, social and institutional discrimination against trans* people – from barriers to accessing hormone therapy to ongoing violence – remain widespread. This article provides a more detailed overview of the many reasons we all gathered to march last month.
Here at Head & Hands, we were thrilled to participate in this historic action as part of our ongoing work to support trans* rights. Did you know that our medical clinic runs Montreal’s only trans* health program for youth that uses an intake process based on informed consent, trusting each individual as the expert on their own experience rather than requiring a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria to access hormone therapy? We also provide extensive free counseling to trans* youth and their families, and incorporate trans*-positivity into our sexual health education workshops through the Sense project!
Also! Did you know that Head & Hands’ health services receive no government funding?? We rely on individual and community support to keep these services going, and we’re mobilizing this month to gather donations as part of our Ca Marche campaign! If you’d like to join us and dance 7km through downtown Montreal on September 27th, follow THIS link. And of course, you can sponsor us directly by following THIS one!
Finally, some more rad pics from the day of the march…!
As part two in our series about barrier contraceptives (see our March post about the Femcap), we’re excited to announce that Head & Hands is now distributing the CAYA diaphragm! The CAYA diaphragm has recently been approved for sale in Canada, so if you`re looking for hormone-free and user controlled birth control, check it out!
When used in conjunction with contragel (aka Cayagel), the CAYA diaphragm works as a mechanical barrier to block sperm from entering the cervix during vaginal intercourse. As with any barrier device, its effectiveness depends on how dedicated you are to using it properly. When used correctly, the CAYA diaphragm is as effective at preventing pregnancies as condoms. Unlike older diaphragm models, you don’t need to be fitted by a doctor because one size fits most users. It’s also made out of durable silicone and can be used for two years.
Interested? You can purchase a CAYA diaphragm (sold at cost) from Head & Hands for $50. Tubes of contragel are available as well for 20$. Check out the CAYA website for more info and insertion videos.
To purchase a diaphragm from us or for more info, contact our Health Services Coordinator, Jos, at (514) 481-0277 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also just swing by our office at 5833 Sherbrooke West! Not in Montreal? Don’t worry, you can order the CAYA online via Anarres Health (they are also the Canadian distributor for the Femcap)!
Dental dams–what have you heard about them? They’re great for oral sex, whether your mouth is heading for a vulva or an anus, and provide a barrier to bodily fluids and skin-to-skin STI transmission. We think everyone should know about them and have the choice to use them!
Estelle, Stagiaire in Sexology from UQAM, says that she wanted to create these how-to videos to make this barrier method more accessible to youth. Despite the fact that dental dams are rarely discussed and even more rarely available, it’s very easy to make one with an external condom! These videos bring a little humor to sex ed, making it a little more pleasant and less stressful.
This April, we headed to the Montreal Science Centre to celebrate our very own Dr. Tellier, winner of Centraide’s prestigious Citizen Engagement Award! Centraide presented Dr. T with a beautiful trophy, and Head & Hands with a $10, 000 cheque. And they made a totally awesome video about Head & Hands and Dr. T!
For those of you who know Dr. T, this award likely doesn’t come as a surprise. For over 30 years, Dr. T has tirelessly provided front-line health services to Montreal’s most marginalized young people, both at Head & Hands, and, on a few occasions, in the streets, bars, and raves of Montreal’s Gay Village. We estimate that Dr. T has treated more than 20, 000 youth in our clinic over the years.
Internationally renowned as a champion of LGBTQ and youth health, Dr. T has mentored countless medical residents, and has presented at numerous conferences on his non-judgemental, harm-reductive, and inclusive approach to medicine.
Congrats, Dr. T!
“Head & Hands is the only organization of its kind in Montreal. Health is about so much more than what goes on in the clinic or hospital. Head & Hands gets that.” – Dr. Sam Freeman
Dr. Freeman signed up as a monthly in 2011, when he was still a medical student at the Université de Montréal. Today, Dr. Freeman is in the midst of his first year of a pediatrics residency at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, yet somehow finds the time to maintain his passion for soccer, the taste of home-grown Quebec Maple Syrup, and that new Arcade Fire album. We are also excited to announce that Dr. Freeman will be working and learning in the Head & Hands medical clinic in one of his upcoming rotations, and we can’t wait to show him around!
Monthly donor since: April 2011
I fill my days with: Work; playing, watching and reading about soccer; sitting in my neighbourhood café; watching whatever TV show I’m hooked on.
As a teenager I was: Pretty excited to become an adult.
Top three things you’d want to have with you on a desert island: Good shoes, a knife (!), and a very long novel.
Song I have stuck in my head right now: It alternates between XO by Beyoncé and Afterlife by Arcade Fire
I can’t live without: A can of my uncle’s Quebec maple syrup in the fridge.
My advice for youth today: Try to do things without worrying about whether or not you’re good at them.
by Jos, Health Services Coordinator
As the Health Services Coordinator here at Head & Hands, I regularly get asked in my job, “Are there alternatives to hormonal birth control? I just don’t like how I feel on the pill.” Hormonal birth control works great for some, but it isn’t for everybody. It can be costly, cause side effects, and has to be prescribed by a doctor. Non-hormonal methods are out there, but sometimes we just don’t know where to look. So today, allow me to introduce one non-hormonal method: the Femcap!
The FemCap is a fabulous barrier method that we think more people should know about. It’s a variation on the cervical cap, but it doesn’t have to be fitted by a doctor and you don’t need a prescription! It’s a silicone barrier that you insert over the cervix before having sex. It’s reusable, latex-free, has no side effects, can be used with or without spermicide, and is controlled by you! It costs about a hundred bucks (you’ll need access to a credit card to order it online). Read more about it at www.femcap.com or give me a call at 514-481-0277 and we can talk about it and your other options!
You can order the FemCap in Canada via these websites:
http://ladytobaby.com/show.php?item=1 (ships from the US)
http://www.anarreshealth.ca/node/449 (ships from Canada)
Did you know that since street work re-launched in October, demand for our emergency food pantry has more than doubled? The need for our medical, legal, and social services is growing, and so we put on our thinking caps to increase financial support this winter. Allow us to introduce our new fundraising campaign, Give the Gift!
When you donate online through Give the Gift, you’ll receive a package of custom-designed cards, ready to print at home and give to friends and family on behalf of each donation. Give the Gift was made possible thanks to two talented local Head & Hands supporters: web programmer, Danielle Bakhazi, and youth artist, J’VLYN.
No matter the occasion, we’ve got you covered in English and French, with cards for celebrating gratitude, birthdays, anniversaries, congratulatory moments, incredible friendships, a new life, or just because!
Give the Gift cards are perfect for the person who says they don’t need anything, who doesn’t want more stuff, who wishes they had more time to volunteer, who believes in buying local, who believes in homemade gifts, who believes in ethical giving, who you have no idea what to buy, for the person who loves Head & Hands, and for the person that you love.
No matter who is on the receiving end, they can’t deny the wicked awesome goodness that comes from a donation being made in one’s honour to support youth in our community.
Okay, so we’ve explained why it’s amazing. But how does it WORK?!
1. Go to our Give the Gift page by clicking here
2. Decide how much you want to donate via your credit card or PayPal account
3. Receive a PDF file with a ton of beautiful cards
4. Pick the card you like
5. Print the card you like
6. Personalize it and send it!
7. Enjoy being the best gift giver ever.
It’s easy and fabulous.
Have any questions? No problem! Call Juniper or Jen at 514-481-0277!