Give 200 Youth Access to Reproductive Healthcare

by CCI Health & Wellness Services
Vetted
One of our new exam rooms
One of our new exam rooms

Have you ever had a frustrating experience at the doctor’s office?

I’m sure many stories are coming to mind. Recently, I made an appointment to get a vaccine. I left work early to show up on time, signed in, got my weight and blood pressure checked. In the end, the nurse told me they couldn’t help me; I needed to go somewhere else. I was frustrated and ashamed – maybe if I had done my research, this wouldn’t have happened.

If you’ve had an experience like this, you know how stressful it can be to feel lost in the healthcare world. For our patients at CCI-TAYA, this is all too common. Most of CCI’s patients are immigrants, children of immigrants, teenagers. A lot of the time, they have little experience with healthcare; some have never seen a doctor. For many, figuring out reproductive healthcare comes with added stigma and confusion.

When you support CCI-TAYA, you support a helpful, judgement-free atmosphere where patients can come to get help no matter what issue they are facing.

Amanda came to our health center recently with a prescription for the patch birth control method. Birth control was intimidating to her, and she wanted to use something that would be simple, easy to use, and that she wouldn’t have to remember to take every day. Amanda was discouraged to find out that CCI-TAYA doesn’t carry this method of birth control onsite.

But her appointment didn’t end there. Rebecca, a medical assistant at CCI-TAYA, took time to make it easy for Amanda to get the birth control she needed. She found a nearby pharmacy where Amanda could get the patch, and gave Amanda a discount prescription card. Rebecca also found another coupon on the internet to make the birth control as affordable as possible. When Amanda left, her discouragement was gone. She thanked Rebecca over and over.

CCI-TAYA just celebrated the move of our TAYA location into our Silver Spring health center. Now, patients like Amanda can get the help they need more easily than ever, with medical, dental, behavioral health, and addictions care are all in one place. As an added bonus, this new location also means that patients have more confidentiality than ever before. They sit in the same waiting room with patients getting dental care, and they walk down the same halls as patients getting their annual checkup.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of people like you. Thank you to everyone who has already chosen to invest in healthy lives for young people in our community during this giving season.

P.S. We are so close to reaching our goal for this project! If you’re thinking about how to direct your year-end giving, why not help us finish this project by the end of 2016? Especially now, your support means so much. 

Our new reception area
Our new reception area

One in six women in the U.S. has experienced rape or a rape attempt. For women who are low income and experience sexual assault, there are extra barriers to recovery. It’s estimated that low income households spend over 80% of their income on basic needs alone, not including costs of childcare and education. It’s difficult to imagine going through sexual assault and not being able to afford counseling, or realizing that taking time off work for extra doctor appointments will mean that your gas bill is going to be late. But these kinds of realities exist for many women in our community.

Thanks to people like you, CCI-TAYA is able to provide every woman the care she needs when crisis comes. Valencia* and her husband came to one of our health centers just a few days after she had been sexually assaulted. The perpetrator was someone she and her husband knew personally, and their voices trembled with anger and grief as they recounted the story to a medical assistant.

Though the clinic was closing soon, medical, infectious disease, behavioral health, and CCI-TAYA staff pulled together to complete labs, provide counseling services, and connect the couple to sexual assault organizations and resources. Valencia’s labs showed that she had never received a vaccine for Hepatitis B, which is spread through blood, semen, and other bodily fluids, and can be sexually transmitted. Though Valencia did not have health insurance or the ability to afford out-of-pocket costs, we were able to provide the care she needed because of generous people like you.

Weeks later, Valencia, her husband, and their three children came to CCI-TAYA to receive the Hep B vaccine free of charge. Staff members were relieved to hear that Valencia and her husband were connected to counseling, had begun the process of pressing charges against the perpetrator, and were in touch with the health department to complete the STI screening process.

In times of crisis, no one wants to feel alone. Thanks to you, we were able to be there for Valencia. Together, we can continue to provide hope and healing to women like her.

Thank you for choosing to partner with us to empower women in our community.

*Pseudonym used to protect patient confidentiality.

For this report, Elsa Canales, CCI-TAYA Outreach Coordinator, shares her experience of partnering with a local youth center to give presentations on reproductive health to 16-24 year old students in a GED prep and job training program. She gave presentations once a week for six weeks to two cohorts of students, allowing her to build trust and have open conversations.

Thank you for investing in educating these kids--it is so needed. There was a lot of important information they didn’t know about staying healthy. For example, they were shocked when they found out that STI’s can be transferred skin-to-skin and through oral sex. One student who was there for the STI series had been chlamydia positive in the past, but she wasn’t sure how it was spread. After the series, she wanted to get tested, and she made an appointment at CCI-TAYA. (It’s been encouraging to hear from our providers that the majority of their patients found out about CCI-TAYA through a presentation!)

I also talked with the students about healthy relationships, and we spent a lot of time talking about abuse and consent. The students associated abuse with violence, not with behavior like constant texting. But as we talked, they started to see the ways that a partner always asking where you are, always needing to know who you’re with can be manipulative and controlling. Consent was also a big topic. Most of the students didn’t think consent within a relationship was necessary; they thought that the fact that they were in a relationship made it ok to have sex with that person. We talked about the fact that a ‘yes’ is needed every time.  

Healthy relationships aren’t just a side topic; they are essential for reproductive health. In a healthy relationship, both partners respect themselves (and each other) enough to be able to know what their physical limits are, and respect that for the other person. A lot the students I talk to feel like they need to prove their love for their partner by doing physical things like having sex even if they aren't comfortable with it. I remind them that they don’t have to do anything. If they don't want to do more than hold hands, they should stick to that and their partner should respect that.

If a healthy couple does decide that they are comfortable and ready to have sex, they talk about their health and history, what they want a physical relationship to look like, what protection they will use, even get tested together. Healthy relationships are a foundation for people to have control over their bodies and their health--what reproductive health is all about.

We are looking forward to continuing to work with students like these through this partnership in the fall and beyond. Thanks to the generosity of people like you, we can make that happen! Thank you for all you do to change lives for young people in our community.

 

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis show staggering numbers in the U.S., with cases of all three diseases on the rise for the first time since 2006. Reproductive health services are needed now more than ever. 

The rate of STIs is disproportionately high among young people. Young adults ages 15-24 make up less than one third of the sexually active population, but they account for nearly two thirds of all cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea reported in 2014. Exacerbating the issue, young people don’t often get the medical help or information they need. A Kaiser Permanente survey revealed that only one third of teen girls had talked to a doctor about STIs in the past three years. The consequences are dire. Undiagnosed STIs cause 24,000 women to become infertile each year.

The importance of openness about STIs is one reason that presentations continue to be a central part of CCI-TAYA’s model of caring for young people in our community. Presentations help us make a difference in the health of young people like Jon.

Jon was in high school when he began to have skin irritation in his genital area. As weeks went by and the discomfort only got worse, his worry grew. He knew that he should see a doctor, but he shared his doctor with the rest of his family. And he’d rather deal with the pain than have them find out that he had a sexually-transmitted infection.

Soon after, CCI-TAYA’s Molly Love gave a presentation at Jon’s high school. As she talked about STIs and their consequences, Jon tried to keep his face from displaying the thoughts and fears whirling through his mind. When the presentation ended, and students filed out of the classroom, Jon knew it was now or never. He took his time packing up his things, and walked up to Molly. After introducing himself and stalling with comments about the presentation, he said it: “I think I might have herpes.”

Thanks to supporters like you, Jon received affordable, confidential treatment at CCI-TAYA. Though we encourage patients to be open with families as much as possible, we know that for young people like Jon, the treatment they need will not happen unless it is private and confidential.

We want you to know that your support of CCI-TAYA makes all the difference in the lives of young people like Jon. With the support of generous people like you, in 2015 CCI-TAYA provided:

  • 2,997 STI screenings
  • 801 breast and cervical cancer screenings
  • 3,930 family planning visits.
  • Education and outreach to over 7,000 young people and parents

Just $25 provides confidential STI testing for a youth who can’t afford it. For this STD Awareness Monthtake action to stop the spread of STIs. 

I don’t think my daughter really needs the HPV vaccine. She’s only 12 years old, so she’s not having sex—she shouldn’t have to worry about getting HPV for a long time. And the longer I can wait to talk about things like that with her, the better. Besides, we’re still working on getting health insurance. I don’t know how an expensive vaccine could fit into our budget right now. – CCI-TAYA parent presentation attendee

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month. Thankfully, there’s a lot to celebrate when it comes to cervical cancer. The pap smear has reduced cervical cancer deaths dramatically, and because of the HPV vaccine, many consider cervical cancer a preventable disease. However, improvements in detecting and treating cervical cancer aren’t reaching everyone equally. One in three girls age 13-17 has received a full HPV vaccine. But among girls in this age group who don’t have insurance, only one in seven have been vaccinated.

At CCI-TAYA, educating families about the importance of the HPV vaccine is a major part of preventing cervical cancer in our community. Educators receive comments like the one above all the time. Many parents are hesitant to give their children the vaccine because they associate it with promiscuous sexual activity. But in reality, it is important for everyone who plans to be sexually active, even if it's years down the road, to get the HPV vaccine. It is the only vaccine we have that can actually prevent cancer.

We explain to parents that having their child get the vaccine is like having them wear a helmet when they ride their bike. The helmet doesn’t mean the child will fall, but it protects them if they do. Helping parents see that the HPV vaccine can actually prevent cervical cancer and save their child’s life makes all the difference.

We also inform parents that the HPV vaccine is important for everyone—girls and boys—to get at age 11 or 12. The vaccine protects them from genital warts and the various types of genital or oral cancers linked to HPV, and the HPV vaccine is most effective when children get the full vaccine before they are sexually active.

For youth who don’t have insurance or can’t afford services, generous people like you enable us to provide affordable screenings and HPV vaccines. Just $50 provides a potentially lifesaving cervical cancer screening to a young woman who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford one. Thank you for choosing to invest in healthy lives for young men and women in our community. 

 

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Organization Information

CCI Health & Wellness Services

Location: Silver Spring, MD - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.cciweb.org
Project Leader:
Jessica Wilson
Silver Spring, MD United States
$10,000 raised of $20,000 goal
 
175 donations
$10,000 to go
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