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Queer & Pride Amsterdam 2023 and your health

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GGD Amsterdam is present at Queer & Pride Amsterdam 2023.

Center for Sexual Health Amsterdam

We provide education during Queer Fest and Milkshake. Our mobile vaccination team will vaccinate you against Hepatitis. And the vaccination campaign against mpox continues until the end of September.

Education on sexual health

Stop by during Queer Fest and Milkshake and get educated about healthy sex.

  • Queer Fest (Museumplein)
    Saturday 22 July – 2 pm to 6 pm
    Sunday 23 July – 2 pm to 6 pm
  • Milkshake festival (Westerpark)
    Zaterdag 29 July – 12 pm to 8 pm
    Zondag 30 July – 1 pm tot 8 pm

Shot against Hepatitis B

We will also be present with a mobile vaccination team. Men who have sex with men and sex workers can get the shot against Hepatitis B or combined A/B for free:

  • Queer Fest, Museumplein
    Saturday 22 July – 2 pm to 6 pm
  • Roze Kwaku, Nelson Mandela Park
    Sunday 23 July – 2 pm to 9 pm
  • El Encanto, Reguliersdwarsstraat
    Saturday 5 August – 12 pm to 6 pm

Mpox

Are you not yet vaccinated against mpox and at risk? Then you can get your first shot until the end of September at the latest. Sign up for an mpox vaccination! We vaccinate residents of Amsterdam, Amstelveen, Uithoorn, Aalsmeer, Ouder-Amstel and Diemen.

Clinic for Trans People, STD testing and misunderstandings

There are many misconceptions about STI care for the transgender community. Jane Ayal and Samira Alila Hakim are two familiar faces of the Trans Clinic. They are happy to help clear up these misunderstandings.

Would you like an appointment for an STI test? Then make an appointment at the GGD. If you would like help making an appointment, please email: sexualhealth@transunitedeurope.eu. Then Jane or Samira will contact you by email or phone.

The misunderstandings... and how it does work

Below you can see misunderstandings and questions, with Jane and Samira's answers below. They explain how it does work.

For an STI test you always have to take off your clothes, don't you?

No, we prefer to work with self-testing and blood sampling. We know that many people prefer not to show their bodies to a healthcare provider. We respect that. However, in case of complaints, such as blisters or wounds, physical examination may be wise. But we discuss that, too, first.

If you want an STI test, do you have to give your name and gender as on your passport?

With us, you specify how you want to be addressed, both in terms of first name and pronouns. For STD testing at the STD clinic or trans clinic, you don't need an insurance card or ID at all. Our tests are free, and may be anonymous.

PrEP is a drug for gay men to prevent HIV. It doesn't work the same for trans persons, does it?

PrEP is a pill that can prevent you from contracting HIV. It works just as well for trans persons as it does for cis persons, but how to take the pills does depend on your body and how you have sex. Different situations are explained on the PrEP Now website. Feel free to make an appointment at the trans clinic if you are interested in PrEP.

If I want a test, should I indicate whether my sexual partner is male or female?

There are more options than just the male or female box, and that includes partners. With us, you can specify whether your partner is cisgender male, or trans female, or non-binary. To make sure we give you the right kind of testing and advice, we ask some questions about the kind of sex you have, and also what genitals your partners have.

To take an STI test you have to answer all inappropriate questions about sex?

We do, of course, want to bring the right kind of tubes for self-testing. To know what kind of testing is right for you, we do need to ask about your birth sex, your gender identity and whether you have had gender-affirming surgery.

If I have already been registered with the STD clinic by name and gender in the past, it cannot be changed, right?

The important thing is that you can be completely yourself with us. So if you want to be addressed with a new first name or want to let us know that your gender identity is different from what you've told us before, we can of course change your information to.

Trans persons can't get all the vaccinations as promoted to men who have sex with men, can they?

There are several vaccinations that help well if you are sexually active. Depending on your age, history and sexual activity, we can tell if you would benefit from protection against Hepatitis B, MPOX or HPV. In such a case, you can get vaccinated with us free of charge.

If I tell about my gender identity during an STI test, will my doctor, insurance or parents be notified?

We do not share data with other agencies without your permission. Only if a treatment prescription needs to be sent to your pharmacy will we ask for your personal data for the prescription. Also, if you want us to send a letter to your family doctor, we can discuss which personal data will be included. And we never notify your parents without your request.

If I use hormones, I don't have to worry about pregnancy

AUsing hormones can reduce or eliminate your fertility, but this is not true for everyone. If you have sex with someone where pregnancy can occur, hormones are not the same as a condom or the pill. Prevent an unplanned pregnancy by getting well-informed. But if you and your sex partner both have a uterus or both produce sperm, you don't have to worry about getting each other pregnant anyway.

At the STI clinic and trans clinic, I can only go for tests. If I only have questions, I can't go here.

During your STI consultation, you may always ask questions. But it is also possible to make an appointment just for questions. This is called the SENSE consultation hour. This is available for young people under 25 at the STI clinic, or with the trans clinic nurse, regardless of your age.

About Jane en Samira

Jane is a nurse at the trans clinic and the Center for Sexual Health. Samira is community director at Trans United Europe and works at the secretariat of the trans clinic. The trans clinic is a collaboration between trans organization Trans United Europe and the Center for Sexual Health.

Read more

How does the STD test work?

Sexual violence

Anyone can experience an unwanted sexual experience. Whether you are straight, or gay, bi, pansexual or asexual. Whether you are male, female, non-binary, intersex, cisgender or transgender. It happens at work, at school, at home or while going out, for example.

What can you do if you experience sexual violence? If it affects you personally, or someone close to you? The Sexual Assault Center provides advice.

Advice from the Sexual Assault Center

Experienced it yourself

Step 1: Talk about it with someone you trust so you can get support and look for the right help together. You can also chat anonymously with a counselor at chatmetcsg.nl

Step 2: Contact the Sexual Assault Center yourself, or together with a confidant, by calling the toll-free number 0800-0188. Good to know: this number only works if you have a Dutch provider. In that case you can chat with us.

Friend, relative or witness

Step 1: Stay calm and listen carefully, which is important for the recovery of the person who experienced it. Use support phrases such as "How terrible that this happened to you," "It's not your fault," "I believe you," and "I am glad you told me." For more tips, visit: Supporting someone after sexual assault

Step 2: Suggest contacting the Sexual Assault Center (together). You can call: 0800-0188. Good to know: this number only works if you have a Dutch provider. In that case you can chat with us.

Aid workers

Are you an aid worker in the Amsterdam Amstelland region and need help or advice in counseling a victim of sexual violence? If so, please contact the Sexual Assault Center  Amsterdam-Amstelland.

Know more?

Seeking help after sexual violence can be especially difficult if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer. Do you need help from the Sexual Assault Center? Then call: 0800-0188. Good to know: this number only works if you have a Dutch provider. In that case you can chat with us. Or visit the  Sexual Assault Center website.

HIV to zero

The Amsterdam region aims to get the number of new HIV diagnoses to 0 by 2026. Indeed: to zero. Caspar Pisters of the Hiv Vereniging talks about the stigmas surrounding HIV and why it is important to break down those stigmas when reducing HIV to 0.

SOAAIDS Netherlands, GGD Amsterdam, Stichting Hiv Monitoring, Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development and the Hiv Vereniging are working together on the project Hiv to 0.

Caspar explains

N=N

Caspar: People with HIV in whom the virus is no longer measurable in the blood thanks to medication can no longer transmit HIV. We call that principle N=n: not measurable = not transmissible. HIV is then really not much more than a chronic disease that can be controlled with one pill a day. Unfortunately, many people do not know this yet; when they think of HIV they think of old images from the 80s and 90s. N=n makes many people with HIV dare to be more open about their HIV, it helps to break down stigmas about HIV. People with HIV are not scary.

Normalizing the conversation

It's important to normalize the conversation about HIV, Caspar says: If people are less afraid of HIV, the step to get tested becomes smaller. Even in health care, that heaviness should be removed from offering an HIV test. Living with HIV is fine, but you have to catch it in time, so just check it regularly.

Biases

One of the preconceptions about HIV is that it only occurs in gay people. Caspar: That entails the risk that a heterosexual woman or man keeps coming back to the family doctor with complaints, but is not offered an HIV test even though they have HIV. As a result, it happens that people get the help they need too late, sometimes resulting in distressing situations. It would help enormously if GP practices were to offer a test more quickly to people, regardless of their sexual orientation, in the case of complaints indicating an HIV infection.

Caspar Pisters of Hiv Vereniging

Testing is vital

And timely testing is vital. Caspar: Because the proportion of late presenters, people who come to treatment late, is quite large. So that means that people walk around with the HIV virus for a very long time, without knowing they are carriers, so they can pass it on during that time and not get the right help.

Afraid of test results

What is also common is that people are very afraid of the results of an HIV test, and therefore postpone it and put their heads in the sand, explains Caspar. Of course you would rather not have HIV, but it is possible to live with HIV nowadays, especially if you catch it in time. The life expectancy for people with HIV is the same as for people without it, so you can really grow old well with it.

Get tested

In the end, what is the most important message? Caspar: Hopefully not only gay men think more often about taking an HIV test the moment they walk in with symptoms. The test, that's where it starts. Always get tested if you are at risk, but also if you have symptoms that could indicate HIV.


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GGD Center for Sexual Health Amsterdam during the Canal Parade in 2022

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