Unzipped Alliance Officially Launches

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A word from our editor:

As many of you know, I am the Social Network Strategies and Outreach Coordinator at HIV Alliance. During my tenure, it has been my honor and passion to increase the community’s awareness of how to prevent HIV and have a healthier and fuller sexual life.

Yet, I have found that my job is much more than getting people to test regularly for HIV and to use condoms properly. My position has afforded me the opportunity to get to know the queer community in Eugene thoroughly. To hear your joys, passions, frustrations, and needs in ways that I wasn’t even aware of before taking this position.

Today is about taking these messages to heart for me. I have worked closely with my Outreach team, the management at HIV Alliance, and community partners to bring the Unzipped Alliance Project to fruition, and I could not be happier about what we have put together.

So you may be wondering at this point, what is Unzipped Alliance? Why should I pay attention to it?

Unzipped Alliance is a community driven effort to increase the sexual health and wellness for queer men in Oregon. We have several aspects, and I want to introduce each of them to you.

As you probably have already gathered, since you are reading this, Unzipped Alliance is a blog. Our goal is to fill it with original content addressing the issues that affect queer men. We also comb the internet tirelessly for fun, interesting, and useful articles and content. We update regularly, so check back often.

More importantly, we are launching today the Unzipped Alliance Hotline. You can call, text, or email questions, concerns, or thoughts in to us. All of your communications are confidential, private, and anonymous. The phone number is 541-735-0999. We respond as quickly as possible, but this is not an emergency service, so forgive us if it takes a little bit to get back to you. If you are experiencing an emergency, you should not call us, but rather call 911 or the appropriate emergency response service. Email us at unzipped@hivalliance.org as well for a rapid response from our highly trained and motivated team.

Unzipped Alliance is about a conversation. It is a dialogue that happens between all of us. We are all stakeholders in our own personal health, and the wellbeing of the community.

I, for one, am excited.

This is not a new conversation, merely a new vehicle to further it.

How will you contribute?

Andrew Clark

Community Engagement Intern: Krista

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I started at HIV Alliance as a volunteer, and in June, I became a Community Engagement Intern. I decided to intern at HIV Alliance because of all the great things I learned within this agency. HIV Alliance is expanding and I have been grateful to be apart of all of the excitement. I love helping people with protection methods, sexual health, and over all wellness within the community.

The great thing about HIV Alliance is that they never judge and are always accepting and helpful. I have been to many events provided by this organization than I have ever been to in my life. It is amazing how many people the Alliance reaches within the community.

Unzipped Alliance is finally up and running strong. The Unzipped Alliance Hotline is a great addition in expanding help towards people that have questions. I love the creativity the Outreach team has been doing. We hope to create cool buttons soon with creative mottos, such as, “Don’t be a fool, cover your tool.”  The Outreach team loves sexual health mottos and other catchy sayings.  I am excited to hear more from everyone!

Yet Another Editor For You To Meet

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I started my time here at the Alliance as a volunteer about 6 months ago. I chose the alliance because I needed to feel good about how I was spending my time. I was done wasting my life on frivolous things. I was offered a staff position as the outreach prevention specialist, which I enthusiastically accepted! It has been one of the best decisions of my life up to this point. I am part of an amazing team that works diligently to bring out community together to support healthy sex lives and sexual well-being. And I am proud and honored to be part of this team.

I am very excited about the launch of Unzipped Alliance. We are always brainstorming ideas on how we can keep our community engaged in what it is we do and what we stand for. Trying to break down bias and judgments, and wanting people to take control of their sexual heath and have enough knowledge to make informed decisions on the things that out queer community faces. Now we have a forum to bring our fun and interesting ideas and thoughts to the community.

My hope is that we will be able to expand our reach and get people talking about issues that sometimes get swept under the rug, and to encourage people to come in and get tested. I am looking forward to bringing our new ideas to you and maybe some not so new ideas, but things that always need to be on the forefront of our minds as we move forward and grow as a community.

We want to hear from you, and get your ideas out there as well. Feedback is always welcome, how else are we supposed to know if we are excelling at our jobs!

Tara

Outreach Prevention Specialist

Why Test?

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I get this question a lot… why do I need to worry about testing? I did it a few years ago.

According to a new research article published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 19% of gay and bi men had tested within the last 6 months.

Let me repeat that. Only 19%.

Something is wrong. A disconnect exists somewhere.

More numbers to consider:

A quarter of the men surveyed thought that new HIV infections were decreasing. In reality, gay and bi men are experiencing the largest leap in new infection rates of any population once more for the first time in over a decade.

75% of the men surveyed thought that gay and bi men not testing regularly was the reason HIV was so difficult to control the spread of.

50% of gay and bi men never even discuss their HIV status with anonymous sex partners, nor ask about the last time their partners were tested.

Gay men under the age of 35 report less concern or connection to HIV issues than those over 35.

These numbers concern me. They should concern you. We need to bring the conversation to light, we need to get tested, and we need to stop being afraid to talk about HIV with our partners, doctors, and each other.

If you are in the Eugene/Springfield area, a community member is hosting an evening of hors d’oeurves, cocktails, and movies. He is also offering free, confdiential HIV testing at his home during the party. Thinking outside the box and hosting events like this are how we are going to control the spread of HIV. So come join us the 18th of October for some great company, and let’s change the numbers above.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1495460527380789/?ref_notif_type=plan_mall_activity&source=1