Local hospitals bring unique observance to Thanksgiving and World AIDS Day
–In conjunction with Thanksgiving and World AIDS Day, which is Dec. 1, 2019, Tenet Health Central Coast hospitals – Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo and Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton – will have red-clothed welcome tables in their main lobbies through Dec. 1. These tables have free red ribbons and information to help raise awareness of the need to work together to fight the stigma of HIV, show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an HIV or AIDS-related illness.
“We encourage everyone to wear a Red Ribbon this year to raise awareness, challenge stigma, end loneliness and isolation, and emphasize support be available for anyone who needs it so that all the people of our communities know that they are not alone. Rather, they are an important part of us,” said Dr. Arthur Dominguez Jr., Chief Nursing Officer at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center and Chair of Tenet Health Central Coast’s LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Advisory Council.
The red tables also include information about first dose Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PEP, which is available in both hospital’s Emergency Departments. PEP involves taking anti-HIV medications as soon as possible after potential exposure to try to prevent advancement of HIV infection. PEP is effective in preventing HIV, but not 100-percent. For best outcomes, PEP should be started within 72 hours of exposure. There will also be information on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, which is for people who do not have (HIV), but who are high risk, to reduce the risk of HIV infection by taking a single pill every day.
Tenet Health Central Coast says it is consistently striving for the “triple zero” in regard to HIV and AIDS:
·Zero new infections
·Zero AIDS-related deaths
Numerous studies have shown that isolation and discrimination are barriers to care and Tenet Health Central Coast is proud to have the only two hospitals in San Luis Obispo County that have earned the prestigious “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC).
“In an era of so much violence and hate, separatism and division, we are venues of solace, respite, reason and succor,” said Mark Lisa, Tenet Health Central Coast CEO. “We want to take a leadership position in San Luis Obispo County in ensuring equality for all in healthcare that is culturally competent and patient-centered to all people regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability or veteran status.”