North, Central and South Jersey locations serve LGBTQ health concerns
It can be difficult for members of the LGTBQ community to find non-discriminatory healthcare. Now there are four major offerings in the Garden State, located in Northern, Central, and Southern New Jersey for people seeking those services.
When one mentions Asbury Park, the two words conjure up images of Bruce Springsteen, the Stone Pony, the boardwalk, rainbow flags flapping in the breeze on front porches. What isn’t generally thought of is LGBTQ health.
The historic town enjoyed a gay rebirth in the late 90s and well into the aughts and the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey has a health center in a brick building next to the train tracks. There is a full complement of health services mainly focused on the LGBTQ community such as HIV care and treatment, Transgender services, STD screenings, behavioral health services, PrEP counseling, rapid HIV and syphilis testing, and medical case management services.
Working with the health center is the Prevention Resource Network, which is a program of the VNACJ’s Children and Family Health Institute. Their services include HIV rapid testing for free, with results available within 20 minutes and trained counselors work with individuals on risk reduction and counseling. HIV testing is available weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with extended hours until 6:30 on Tuesday.
Major healthcare systems such as RWJ-Barnabas and Jefferson Health have comprehensive LGBTQ care programs in the state too. RWJ/Barnabas has been recognized as a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign five consecutive times. HRC said providers must upholding an explicit patient non-discrimination policy and an equal visitation policy for LGBTQ couples. They also maintain an employment non-discrimination policy and have staff training in LGBTQ patient-centered care. RWJ/Barnabas has LGBTQ Health Navigators available for patients who have questions and concerns about their care.
PROUD Gender Center of New Jersey
One of RWJ/Barnabas more important offerings is the PROUD Gender Center of New Jersey at the New Brunswick location. Services center on the health and wellbeing of the transgender community. PROUD offers comprehensive primary care, gender-affirming surgery including transfeminine and transmasculine top surgery, facial feminization and facial masculinization surgery, hormone therapy and endocrinology, gynecology/urology, otolaryngology/vocal training, community outreach, education and training, advocacy resources, information and referral to behavioral and mental health support services. Proudly Me is a transgender education and support program.
Another Human Rights Campaign Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality is Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus, a clinical affiliate of Rutgers University. The medical center opened its LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Center last October. “This center is a safe place where LGBTQ+ individuals can access care, testing, and education in a welcoming, supportive, equitable, and stigma-free environment,” Bergen New Bridge CEO Deborah Visconi said. “Bergen New Bridge Medical Center has a proud history of servicing the disparate needs of the LGTBQ+ community. This new health and wellness center is the natural evolution of our commitment to this underserved population.”
Located on the second floor of the Paramus medical center, the LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Center offers primary care, mental health services, transgender and gender non-binary health services, and substance abuse services. They also offer endocrinology services, STI screenings and treatment, HIV/AIDS testing, treatment, and prevention, plus PrEP and PEP care and coordination.
In southern New Jersey Jefferson Health has expanded across the Delaware River from its Philadelphia home. The new Primary and Specialty Care, a LGBTQ+ Affirming Practice opened in historic Haddonfield and is accessible via car and the PATCO line. Jefferson Hospitals have also been recognized by the HRC as Leaders in LGBTQ Healthcare and Equality three times.
The primary care practice offers services in infectious diseases, behavioral health, medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, PrEP for HIV prevention, hormone replacement, and gender-affirming therapy.
Find your NJ LGBTQ Health Center online
- VNACJ LGBTQ Health Center, Asbury Park: prnvnacj.org/vnacj-lgbtq-health-center
- Prevention Resource Network: prnvnacj.org/about-prn
- RWJ-St. Barnabas, New Brunswick: rwjbh.org/rwj-university-hospital-new-brunswick/treatment-care/lgbtqia-program
- PROUD Gender Center of New Jersey: rwjbh.org/rwj-university-hospital-new-brunswick/treatment-care/lgbtqia-program/transgender-community-services-proud-gender-cent
- Bergen New Bridge LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Center: newbridgehealth.org/lgbtq-health-wellness-center
- Jefferson Health: jeffersonhealth.org/LGBTQ-program.html
- Haddonfield Primary and Specialty Care: newjersey.jeffersonhealth.org/mydoc/haddonfield-primary-specialty-care-lgbtq-affirming-practice