BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — A new center in Beaver County is focusing on helping the LGBTQ community.
Central Outreach Wellness Center in Aliquippa provides care while trying to break the stigma surrounding HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.
The clinic — which opened Dec. 16, 2019 — is the first of its kind for people in Beaver County, and the third location of its kind in the Pittsburgh region.
Alex Tatangelo, a nurse practitioner for the center, said the new location is in an area that lacks LGBTQ services.
“There’s a lot of fear in that community still and there’s a lot of fear going into a doctor and talking about things that may be concerning to them,” Tatangelo said.
The clinic has STD testing, Hepatitis C care and hormone replacement therapy.
“For the LGBTQ community, we offer PrEP, which keeps you protected for acquiring HIV,” Tatangelo said. “We offer HIV care and primary care for individuals who are already HIV positive.”
What makes this center even more unique is it shares office space with the LGBTQ agencies PRISM and Project HOPE.
“We are a safe space for LGBTQ youth and their allies to come and be themselves,” PRISM founder Jaci Palmer said.
Palmer said her goal is to make LGBTQ youth feel like they matter and cut down on teen suicide.
She says LGBTQ teens are five times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual friends.
And as for David Adkins, who’s HIV positive and the founder of Project HOPE, his goal is to create awareness for people impacted by HIV and AIDs.
He does that through outreach, support groups and fundraisers.
“I’ve lost a lot of friends to HIV and AIDs, and why am I still here? There’s a reason I’m here to do what I can do,” Adkins said.
Central Outreach Wellness Center has offices in Allegheny and Washington counties.
The center accepts appointments and walk-ins.