COVID-19 and the HIV community in Irvine.

The Impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ+ HIV Community

Following latest research, the World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending that people living with HIV be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines. In the global fight to stem infections, members of the Irvine LGBTQ+ community undergoing HIV treatment are advised that the benefits of vaccination radically outweigh any slim risks.

As research into COVID-19 is published, there have been clearer signs of the risks for the HIV community. Significant statistics include that 23.1% of people living with HIV who were admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 eventually died. People living with HIV also had a 30% greater chance of developing severe or fatal symptoms.

How the LGBTQ+ Community Can Reduce the Threat of COVID-19

To address the concerns of many people living with HIV, the CDC has published guidance for maintaining good health while undergoing HIV treatment. Among the most important steps is getting fully vaccinated as soon as possible. A weakened immune system could, however, make people with HIV more vulnerable even after vaccination.

Therefore, mask wearing, social distancing and good hygiene should still play a vital role. As always, maintaining good health through diet, sleep and HIV medicine are key to a strong immune system.

Additional Factors Affect Health Risks for the HIV Community

While people living with HIV may feel disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, other factors are at play.Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine and University of Michigan – working with limited data – found that factors like old age, heart disease, diabetes, liver disease and other comorbidities were more significant factors in the hospitalization of those living with HIV.

Nonetheless, the pandemic has put serious strain on many within the LGBTQ+ community. Economic uncertainty, mental health struggles and social isolation are familiar issues for many, and the pandemic has only exacerbated these issues. Thankfully, events like the upcoming AIDS Walk Orange County offers the opportunity for individuals and sponsors to support the much-needed services offered at Radiant Health Centers.

How the LGBTQ+ HIV Community Can Make Use of Local Resources

Radiant Health Centers continues to support the LGBTQ+ HIV community, with staff and volunteers dedicated to providing support and care. People living with HIV are encouraged to make use of the many medical and social services available. These services include free HIV testing, counseling, treatment for HIV, STDs, STIs and Hepatitis C, sexual health services and HIV awareness. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many people hard, but the Orange County LGBTQ+ HIV community has continued to show resilience and togetherness throughout.

Health and Social Services Care for the LGBTQ+ Community

At Radiant Health Centers, we serve the needs of the LGBTQ+ community in Irvine, Santa Ana and all of Orange County with care and compassion. Our trained staff provides HIV and STD testing, HIV prevention treatment, family planning, social services and mental health counseling. If you would like to make an appointment, call us at (949) 809-5700.

Our Culture - Radiant Health Centers

Six years ago, Radiant Health Centers’ (then AIDS Services Foundation) received a grant from the CDC to provide HIV testing and education to priority populations in high-risk communities to advance efforts to end the HIV epidemic. The outcome was to create a High-impact HIV prevention program and position it in an area that showed the greatest need.

RADAR Satellite Services Transferred to Irvine Location

A satellite office in the city of Santa Ana was secured and staffed through this grant funding which allowed us to create a strong community presence in Santa Ana-the city with the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses per 100,100 population in 2020.  The satellite office was branded RADAR in an effort to attract individuals who were at high risk of contracting HIV and in need of testing and education who may not have felt comfortable seeking care from an AIDS agency.

In June 2021, the CDC funding for this satellite location ended and we seamlessly transferred the valuable education and outreach efforts to the Radiant Health Centers site in Irvine. We are fortunate to maintain one of the original outreach team members to lead this continued effort and we remain committed to providing outreach, education, testing, treatment, care navigation and overall LGBTQ+ healthcare equity to those most in need in Orange County.

Get LGBTQ+ Medical Services & Support at Irvine Location

Learn more about the medical and support services offered at Radiant Health Centers now or by calling (949) 809-5700.