Health » Fitness

Center on Halsted Focuses on HIV Among Females and the Elderly

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Monday Sep 16, 2013

Chicago's Center on Halsted is kicking off the week with two days dedicated to preventing HIV infection among women and the elderly. On Sept. 16, they will observe the second annual Global Female Condom Day, followed by National HIV, AIDS & Aging Day on Sept. 17.

"Individuals who engage in receptive anal and/or vaginal intercourse are empowered by this alternative option for their sexual health," reads a Center on Halsted press release. "Female condoms reduce risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, as well as pregnancy. They are a safer sex option that can be used by both men and women during intercourse and another great option for LGBTQ people."

The second generation FC2 female condom may enhance pleasure for some women, as the material is soft, warms up easily and the outer edge is close to the clitoris. The new version is made of nitrile, which may benefit those allergic to latex.

In addition, some men who have sex with men (MSM) have championed the female condom as a safer sex alternative for anal sex, one that doesn’t constrict, make noise or squeak during sex.

Global Female Condom Day is a collaborative effort of the National Female Condom Coalition (NFCC) and the Universal Access for Female Condoms (UAFC) Joint Programme and it aims to increase the number of people around the world who know about, can access, use, and advocate for female condoms. Last year, thousands of people and nearly 200 organizations from 26 countries participated. Organizers this year anticipate participation to be even greater.

In Chicago, radio personality Loni Swain is the face for a Facebook film campaign in which people complete a sign reading "Female Condoms Are ..." They shoot a quick film and post it to the website. Visitors vote on the fan favorite, and on Sept. 20, the winner will be announced.

Swain teams up with the Red Pump Project and the Chicago Female Condom Campaign to hold a chat about women’s health from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Little Black Pearl, 1060 E. 47th St. in Chicago. All women and girls are invited to RSVP and will get a free MAC Viva Glam makeup bag as a takeaway.

From 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sept. 16, the HIV services team at the Center will provide demonstrations and free female condoms, as well as free rapid HIV testing throughout the day.

Sept. 17 is National HIV, AIDS & Aging Day

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, the Center on Halsted will open its doors to seniors 55+ and their loved ones for the National HIV, AIDS & Aging Day. Events include free rapid HIV testing, connection to care and other supports services, and more. The 6th Annual NHAAAD is officially observed on Sept. 18, and focuses on the challenging issues facing the aging population with regards to HIV prevention, testing, care and treatment.

"HIV/AIDS among people over 50 is increasingly prevalent because many HIV-positive people receiving appropriate care are living into middle and old age," reads a press release from the Center. "New HIV infections among older adults are also on the rise. Older adults living with HIV/AIDS risk poorer health outcomes than their younger peers as a result of age-related issues like cardiovascular disease, accelerated HIV progression, and increased likelihood of late diagnosis."

Treatment advances have helped many older adults living with HIV/AIDs live longer and healthier lives. But it is estimated that by 2014, half of people living with HIV/AIDs will be age 50 or older; yet, older adults are less likely than their younger counterparts to be routinely evaluated for HIV. ?

For more information about other HIV/AIDS & STD Services offered at Center on Halsted, call 773-661-0910 or visit

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.