SAN FRANCISCO: Clinic To Target City’s Gay Youth
San Francisco is opening "its first health clinic targeted at gay adolescents and young adults ... a population overlooked by mainstream health agencies," the San Francisco Examiner reports. The new clinic, called "Dimensions," will open July 2, "offering medical and mental health services" as well as HIV "prevention and testing." The San Francisco Department of Public Health collaborated with several nonprofit agencies to create the clinic, which will extend services to individuals unable to afford treatment.
Health Care Is Lacking
Patterned after existing clinics in Boston, Los Angeles and New York, Dimensions "resulted from a survey last summer of 200 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people ages 12 to 25," by Health Initiatives for Youth, "a nonprofit organization that helped develop the clinic." The survey found that "access to health care, therapy and substance-abuse treatment was a leading concern for gay adolescents and young adults." According to Dimensions officials, "mainstream agencies tend to focus on AIDS and overlook other health needs" of gay youth. Additionally, many gay youth neglect regular health care, fearing the costs of certain treatments or having had negative doctor's office experiences. Kevin Gogin, head of gay and lesbian youth support services for the San Francisco schools, noted that Dimensions "would be vital for gay youths with nowhere else to turn." Currently, "[h]alf of all new HIV infections ... occur in people under 25," and San Francisco's population of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youths numbers between 6,000 and 10,000 (Chao, San Francisco Examiner, 6/14).