Finding a relationship can be frustrating. How has the Black gay dating scene been treating you lately?
This upcoming initiative will address many of the barriers to general and sexual health care faced by gay, bisexual and transgender people of color within house/ball communities, including the lack of cultural competency within health care settings, feelings of denial and/or fear among community members, and the lack of experience successfully navigating complex systems of care.
Through assertive and culturally competent navigation and linkage services, this sex-positive and affirming initiative will provide access to HIV/STI testing, primary medical care, and linkage to care services targeted to the specific needs of house/ball communities. Referrals will be made through the well-defined network of Chicago house/ball parents with incentives provided to the houses with the highest rates of participation.
A tiered system of Paragon Preferred Providers has been established to meet the individual needs of participants referred to the program. Ideally, all participants should receive a full health examination and work-up to include:
Initial medical visits will introduce participants to a caring and competent medical network and offer basic screenings. In most cases, this will represent an opportunity to receive answers to questions regarding sexual health and health in general, and affords the opportunity for a point of contact should future health concerns arise. If a significant medical problem is evident, referrals will be made; however, such care is not covered as part of this program. Recommendation for regular HIV/STI testing at the Paragon Preferred Provider will be made when appropriate.
Our list of providers is dynamic and subject to change. Several centers will provide care to the population we are servicing. We are in the process of obtaining the terms and conditions required for a Paragon site during this roll-out phase — that services be provided free of charge and that culturally competent care is provided. The different tiers reflect the types of care that can be provided and any costs to the client that are associated with that care. Importantly, the tiered system does not represent differences in quality of care, or compassion for the community.
Tier 1: Paragon Preferred Providers Plus
Tier 2: Paragon Preferred Providers
Tier 3: Paragon Affiliate Providers
All participating clients will call the Paragon Medical Network Referral hotline (phone number coming soon). A linkage counselor will help the client to identify the medical network site that is the best fit for their individual needs and will then assist the client in scheduling their appointment.