The NC AIDS Action Network (NCAAN), NC Counts Coalition and the LGBT Center of Raleigh pooled their efforts to provide a free HIV/STI testing and COVID-19 vaccination clinic on July 31. The LGBT Center of Raleigh and the NC AIDS Action Network received grants from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the national health advocacy nonprofit organization Community Catalyst. Together the grants came to a total of $100,000. The two organizations will continue to utilize the money for additional testing sites and COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

Our World in Data places North Carolina at 9.7 million COVID doses given to date; somewhat below the majority of U.S. state averages. With only 4.6 million fully vaccinated North Carolinians, the remaining 57 percent of NC residents have not received both doses of any available vaccine. 

Retrieving LGBTQ-specific COVID-19 information has proven to be a bit of a challenge. It has, however, come to the attention of several queer-related organizations that COVID-19 is impacting those in predominantly low-income and BIPOC households at a higher rate. 

The LGBT Center of Raleigh prides itself on catering to a diverse group that includes all people. The Center recently received the Best STD Testing Community Organization in Raleigh award from Lab and At-Home STI/STD testing organization Testing.com. 

 “Within the LGBT community, sadly, it is a common experience [for] folks to go to their primary care physician [to]be faced with … an unwelcoming or unsafe environment because they have to out themselves to their doctor, ” Andi Espenshade, the newly appointed Director of Development at the LGBT Center of Raleigh told the news department of WTVD in Durham.

Espenshade believes that these social obstacles may be keeping LGBTQ individuals from getting tested for COVID as well as STDs and then receiving the proper medical care for either. 

In order to combat the fear that queer people may experience during the pandemic, the LGBT Center of Raleigh and NCAAN will be sharing important resources, updated information and continuing with the aforementioned vaccine clinics, geared specifically toward LGBTQ and homeless individuals. 

Dedicated to changing negatively impacting local and nation-wide policies relating to HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis, NCAAN has worked towards improving the quality of life for those who are living with these ailments for the past 11 years. 

“We know that people are really thinking really hard right now about whether they should be getting the vaccine or not,” says Lee Sorrow, Executive Director of NCAAN. “We want to make sure all residents in the triangle have good, quality information about the COVID and flu vaccines, and easy access to get their shot.” 

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