SEXUAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS | #BETHEGENERATION

WHAT IS #BETHEGENERATION?

#BeTheGeneration (#BTG) is The Center’s comprehensive Sexual Health & Wellness Program that ensures individuals are empowered to take charge of their sexual health and well-being. Comprised of five tenets, this program will Empower by utilizing a robust combination of education, engagement, and services; Fight to reduce stigma and barriers and improve access to screening; Test so individuals know their status; Protect by providing information to make informed choices on how to remain HIV negative and STI free; and Treat by providing resources and care should they be diagnosed with HIV and other STIs.

Follow us on social media! Facebook: facebook.com/bethegeneration, Instagram: @BeTheGeneration2.0

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of The Center’s services are virtual. Please reach out to bethegeneration@thecentersd.org for specific information during this time, or see calendar below.

In 2014, The Center launched the groundbreaking #BeTheGeneration campaign as an aggressive and strategic effort to end new HIV transmissions in San Diego, prompted by medical evidence and offering a much-needed new opportunity to stop HIV as an epidemic. Based on findings from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, reports showed that use of PrEP and PEP medications could decrease a person’s HIV risk by up to 99 percent.

Today, #BeTheGeneration has morphed into an entire program that focuses on Sexual Health and Wellness for the LGBTQ community and beyond. As always, individuals, couples, and families living with HIV are welcome at all Center programs and activities. The Center also has services specifically designed for community members living with HIV/AIDS outlined below.

The Center has built strong collaborative partnerships with top community health providers Family Health Centers of San Diego, Vista Community Clinics, San Ysidro Health Centers, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest and U.C. San Diego that allows our clients a seamless link to immediate sexual health treatment and prevention support as well as long-term medical care and supplemental services that help sustain and enhance quality of life.

The Center's Services

DISCUSSION AND SUPPORT GROUPS

The Center offers a number of weekly ‘Living with HIV’ groups facilitated by mental health professionals from The Center’s Behavioral Health Services, as well as peer-to-peer led groups.

HIV PREVENTION

The Center offers connection to HIV prevention services, resources, and information including: PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis): Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an HIV prevention tool where HIV-negative individuals take anti-HIV medications before coming into contact with HIV to reduce their risk of becoming infected. The once daily pill has been shown to be up to 99% effective in preventing HIV transmission through sex. PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis): If you think you’ve been exposed, visit an emergency room or urgent care center and ask for PEP within 3 days! PEP prevent HIV from making copies of itself and turning into infection if taken within 72 hours. TasP (Treatment as Prevention): We can now say with confidence that if you are living with HIV and taking your medication as prescribed, and have had an undetectable viral load for over six months, you cannot pass on HIV with or without a condom. The risk is effectively zero. Other resources: Undetectable = Untransmittable; Looking for PrEP providers; Picking a Covered California Plan with HIV coverage; How To talk to your doctor about PrEP.

There are many prevention tools in the toolbox of sexual health. Which one is best for you? We can help you decide. Email bethegeneration@thecentersd.org for more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our Community Health Educators

HIV and hcv TESTING AND EDUCATION AT THE CENTER

At The Center, we encourage you to know your status. Free and anonymous HIV testing is available at The Center, Monday - Friday. Walk ups welcome, or make an appointment by calling 619.692.2077 or emailing bethegeneration@thecentersd.org. Get tested in a safe and LGBTQ-affirming space and know your results in 20 minutes. English and Spanish speakers available.

The Center's test counselors utilize 4thGen rapid testing technology. The Alere Determine Rapid HIV-1/2 Ab/Ag is a fourth-generation test that detects two factors in the blood: HIV antibodies and p24 antigens. When an individual contracts HIV, the immune system starts to produce HIV antibodies. This is the body’s defensive response for trying to fight the virus. These antibodies can take from 2 weeks to 12 weeks after infection to be detectable via testing. The immune system produces these antibodies in response to p24 antigens. P24 antigens are actually a part of the virus itself, and they tend to appear within 1 to 4 weeks of HIV entering the body. Therefore, the Determine test can detect the virus before the immune system starts producing HIV antibodies. This is because p24 antigens appear before HIV antibodies. This allows for earlier diagnosis of HIV so individuals can seek medical care to begin treatment sooner, and become undetectable faster. That is the goal! #UequalsU

The Center offers OraQuick Rapid HCV antibody testing. Results within 20 minutes.

couples testing

Free and confidential couples testing is an opportunity for budding, new, and long term couples to discuss, establish, or revise sexual agreements for their relationship and to prepare a risk-reduction plan based on the HIV status of both partners. This testing reduces the burden of sharing one’s HIV-positive status by ensuring provider-assisted mutual disclosure; provides a built-in support system with links to care and treatment services; supports pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and condom use; and allows for the early diagnosis of HIV infection and linkage to care to enabling persons with HIV to start treatment sooner, which leads to better health outcomes and longer, healthier lives.

sti screenings

Free screening service for sexually transmitted infections (STI) began in 2022! The Center now provides STI screenings for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis as part of our #BeTheGeneration program. Sexual health does not begin and end with HIV testing. For people who are on PrEP, the CDC recommends regular STI screening every six months. People living with HIV who are sexually active should also get screened for STIs regularly, at least every six months.

Anyone who needs access to this free service can make an appointment by calling 619-692-2077 (English and Spanish translators available), or by sending an email to bethegeneration@thecentersd.org. Walk-ins for STI screening and HIV/HCV testing will be available based on staff availability. You can contact our Welcome Desk during these hours at 619-692-2077.

SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER HARM REDUCTION SERVICES


In 2021, The Center launched our first-ever substance use disorder (SUD) / harm reduction prevention program as a compassionate and empowering effort to help those using substances in San Diego. As an extension of our Sexual Health and Wellness program, our new prevention service is evidence-based, client-centered and models the vision and mission of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The Center has built strong collaborative partnerships with top community LGBTQ+ affirming providers and organizations Family Health Centers of San Diego, Live & Let Live Alano Club, Owen Clinic, San Diego Harm Reduction Coalition, and Stepping Stone of San Diego that allows our clients a seamless link to immediate substance use disorder treatment and prevention support services.

For more information on our substance use prevention services, please contact bethegeneration@thecentersd.org and click here for a list of community organizations that offer SUD harm reduction services.

Food Resources

The Center hosts two food banks per month. The Neighborhood Food Bank is open to all on the first Tuesday of the month from 7:30am - 10:30am. The Senior Food Bank is for low-income 60+ individuals on the 4th Tuesday of the month from 12pm - 3pm. For information, contact Sarah at 619. 692.2077 x 214 or smerkbenitez@thecentersd.org.

COMMUNITY CARE PARTNERS​

For information about affordable HIV medical care, please call one of our community primary care partners listed below for information and scheduling.

  • North County Health Services, 150 Valpredo Rd. San Marcos, CA 92069, 760.736.6782
  • Hillcrest Family Health Center, 4090 4th Ave., San Diego (Hillcrest), CA 92103,  619.515.2545
  • Our Place/Comprehensive Health Services, 286 Euclid Ave., Ste. 309 San Diego, CA 92114, 619.527.7390
  • San Ysidro Health Services/Casa South Bay, 4004 Beyer Blvd, San Ysidro, CA 92173, 619.662.4161
  • UCSD Owen Clinic, 4168 Front St. San Diego, CA 92103, 619.543.3995
[Services funded, in part, by AIDS Walk & Run San Diego, US Dept of HUD, HRSA - through the County of San Diego HHSA, and Dining Out For Life® San Diego]

For more information on about HIV Services or to schedule a test, please call  619.800.4252 (9am-4pm) or 619.800.4216 (4-9pm).

Our PROMISE to #BeTheGeneration:

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