Long Beach HIV/STD Strategy 2019-2022
Spring 2022 Quarterly Digest
The Long Beach HIV/STD Strategy 2019-2022 Digest is a quarterly newsletter created to inform community stakeholders about our progress towards the HIV/STD Strategy goals/objectives. See below to read about our most recent accomplishments. 

Please contact Everardo Alvizo, HIV/STD Strategic Implementation Specialist if you have any questions/comments. - Everardo.Alvizo@longbeach.gov
Goal 1 – Reduce HIV and STD Infections 
New HIV/STD Prevention Coordinator Joins Prevention/Mobile Testing Unit Team
Leo McLaughlin, HIV/STD Prevention Coordinator
Originally from North Carolina, Leo McLaughlin first moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in television after graduating from college with a degree in theater arts. But after eight years in the entertainment industry and with a growing awareness of how HIV disproportionately affects the Black community, Leo had a calling to do more. Per Leo, “I felt that there were not enough HIV testing counselors and providers who reflected our community and I wanted to do something to change that. I started my career in public health as a volunteer 11 years ago doing intake at a local nonprofit for people wanting to get screened for HIV. After volunteering for a year, I was offered the opportunity to become a certified HIV Testing Counselor. Over the years I have held many titles, including HIV Testing Lead, Program Coordinator and Program Manager over the largest HIV/STD testing contract for CSV (Commercial Sex Venues) in Los Angeles County. Though I am new to the city of Long Beach, with my experience I look forward to continuing my efforts in providing sex-positive harm reduction prevention while working toward the goal of ending the HIV epidemic not only in the beautiful city of Long Beach but worldwide.”
Goal 2 – Strengthen Capacity/Provider Detailing  
Congenital Syphilis Prevention
The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) is starting a Provider Detailing Program to help providers keep up to date on STD/HIV-related topics. The first topic is Congenital Syphilis Prevention. These quick educational sessions are tailored to the provider to refresh their knowledge on treating syphilis in pregnant people and their partners to prevent congenital syphilis. Long Beach has high rates of congenital syphilis: higher than their L.A. County and State counterparts. Between 2016 and 2020, congenital syphilis increased 123% in Long Beach. It will take all healthcare providers to do this important work to help prevent future infections. We hope to expand our provider detailing sessions to include other HIV/STD-related topics soon. 
For more information, or to sign-up for a future session, call 562-570-4321.
Goal 2 – Strengthen Capacity/Provider Education
Dr. Okada Hosting Rotation for Long Beach Memorial Residents
Cliff Okada, MD, MPH, AAHIVS
Public Health Physician
As part of the Community Medicine rotation for Long Beach Memorial’s Family Medicine resident physicians, we provide clinical training in HIV medicine, where resident physicians can shadow and participate in patient care activities alongside Dr. Okada in the HIV Care and Coordination Clinic.
“From a didactic standpoint, I’ve also been involved as a visiting lecturer during the residency’s noon conference lecture series,” explains Dr. Okada. “This has been a nice change of pace from the one-on-one training during the clinical rotation. It is humbling to be able to reach a wider audience with a lecture, although I still prefer the clinical setting for teaching.”
Goal 3 – Educate Communities
Educational Campaigns on Social Media
(Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) and Community Happenings
Transgender Day of Visibility/Gender Wonder Fest
March 31, 2022
Partnership with CSULB School of Social Work Students and the Health Department
Goal 4 – Increasing Access to Care 
Bicillin (BIC) Distribution Program
The Health Department has created a Bicillin Distribution Program to help providers in the community overcome obstacles to treat syphilis. The Department purchases and stores bicillin until a provider needs the medicine. The Health Department will then work with the provider to understand when to best deliver the medication on the day of the patient’s appointment, depending on storage capacity. Right now, medication can be used for any patient residing in Long Beach, and we hope to expand this opportunity to any patient who seeks services in Long Beach as well.
We often see patients lost-to-follow-up when referred to other health clinics for the treatment of their infection. We hope that limiting the barriers to treating patients for syphilis, we can aid provider capacity and limit the need for patient referral for more timely and adequate treatment of syphilis.  
For more information, or to participate in this opportunity, call 562-570-4321. 
Embedded Disease Intervention Specialist Collaborative 
The Health Department is collaborating with The CARE Clinic at St. Mary Medical Center and The LGBTQ Center Long Beach with disease intervention work. These Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS) have diverse skill sets and are great resources to providers diagnosing complex syphilis cases, as well as educating patients 1-on-1 on a level that the patient can understand, which allows the patient to better advocate for themselves. DIS will go above and beyond to link patients to treatment by making appointments, setting up transportation and speaking with the provider beforehand to ensure adequate treatment. Having a DIS at both The CARE Clinic and The Center has proven to be extraordinarily beneficial to patients and has improved the number of people we are able to adequately treat. DIS also helps improve patient outcomes by reaching people in locations patients already are accessing. People are more comfortable speaking to more familiar faces in trusted spaces.

Per Ismael Salamanca of the LBGTQ Center Long Beach, “Having the Embedded Community Based DIS has been a project that has enhanced our ability to ensure that LGBTQ patients living with an STI get the care they need.” Per Paul Lovely of St. Mary’s CARE Clinic, “Overall coordination of care has improved by having an in-house resource that can quickly and efficiently communicate with the health department.”
Kaylee Smith, DIS at St. Mary’s CARE Clinic
Jess Nunez, DIS at The LGBTQ Center Long Beach
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