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Apr 23
National Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Awareness Month: Get Treated

​Most sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be cured with the right medicine. Bacterial infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis can be cured with antibiotics. Remember to take the medicine as directed and never share your medication with others. If it is safe to do so, talk to your sex partner(s) about getting tested for STIs. If your sex partner is infected, it is important to treat them at the same time to prevent re-infection. Having an STI and getting it treated does not protect you from future infections!

Left untreated, STDs can cause serious health problems

Other STIs such as HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) aren't curable, but they are treatable. Talk to your healthcare provider to start treatment as soon as possible. Early treatment not only helps you stay healthy but can also reduce your chance of spreading the virus to someone else.

If left untreated, STIs can cause very serious health problems such as:

  • Gonorrhea can cause men and women to become infertile (unable to have children)
  • Long term infection of syphilis can damage internal organs
  • HIV can progress to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome)

Having one STI also increases your chances of getting other STIs. So get treated, stay healthy!   

To learn more about STIs, visit www.bphc.org/STI. ​

Apr 21
National Infant Immunization Week



April 21-28, 2018 is National Infant Immunization Week. Are your children's vaccinations up-to-date?

Vaccines have drastically reduced infant death and disability caused by preventable diseases in the United States. In the 1950's, nearly every child developed measles, and unfortunately, some even died. Today, thanks to the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, many healthcare providers have never seen a case of measles.

Vaccines save lives!

Vaccines can protect children from 14 serious diseases before they turn 2! It's easy to think of these as diseases of the past. But the truth is they still exist. Children in the United States can—and do—still get some of these diseases.

You can also provide extra protection to your children by making sure those around them are current on their vaccines. When family members and caregivers of children are vaccinated, they are not only protecting their own health from vaccine preventable diseases, but they are also helping to limit the children's exposure to these diseases. This is especially important in the children's first few months of life when they haven't been fully vaccinated.  

Talk to your health care provider to make sure you and your children are up-to-date with their vaccinations.

To learn more about vaccines, visit Vaccination Myths and Facts.


Apr 21
Semana Nacional de Inmunización Infantil


El 21 al 28 de abril, 2018 celebramos la Semana Nacional de Inmunización Infantil.  ¿Están vacunados sus hijos?


Las vacunas han reducido drásticamente la muerte y la discapacidad infantil causadas por enfermedades prevenibles con vacunas en los Estados Unidos. En la década de 1950, casi todos los niños desarrollaban sarampión y, desafortunadamente, esta enfermedad causo muchas muertes. Hoy en día, gracias a la vacuna contra el sarampión, rubeola y paperas (MMR en inglés), hay muchos proveedores de salud que nunca han visto un caso de sarampión.

¡Las vacunas salvan vidas!

Vacunas pueden proteger a niños de 14 enfermedades graves antes de que cumplan 2 años! A veces es fácil pensar de estas enfermedades son del pasado. Pero la verdad es que estas enfermedades siguen existiendo. Niños en los Estados Unidos pueden-y siguen-contrayendo algunas de estas enfermedades.  

También puede proporcionar protección adicional a sus hijos, asegurándose que las personas que los rodeen estén al día con sus vacunas. Cuando los miembros de la familia y cuidadores de niños son vacunados, no sólo protegen su propia salud de las enfermedades prevenibles por vacunación, sino que también están ayudando a limitar la exposición de los niños a estas enfermedades. Esto es especialmente importante en los primeros meses de vida de los niños cuando no se han vacunado completamente.


Hable con su proveedor de atención médica para asegurarse de que usted y sus hijos están al día con sus vacunas.

Para más información sobre vacunas, visite Los Mitos y los Hechos sobre la Vacunación


Apr 16
National Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Awareness Month: Get Tested

​Many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) don't have any symptoms. If you're having sex, getting tested is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health and it's the only way to know for sure if you're infected.

Yearly STI testing is recommended for:

  • All sexually active men and women under the age of 25
  • People who have had unprotected sex

15-24 year olds account for half of all new STD infections

More frequent testing (every 3 to 6 months) is recommended for people at high risk, these include:

  • People with multiple partners
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)

You should also get tested:

  • When you are pregnant
  • 3 months after treatment for a sexually transmitted infection
  • Every time you have a new partner if you are unsure of the partner's status

All adults and adolescents from ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV and anyone who has unsafe sex or shares injection drug equipment should get tested for HIV at least once a year.

If you're not comfortable talking with your regular healthcare provider about STI testing, find a clinic near you that provides confidential and free or low-cost testing. For a list of free and confidential STI testing clinics in Boston, visit this website. You can also find a testing site near you by calling the Mayor's Health Line at 617-534-5050 or visiting https://www.helpsteps.com.

To learn more about STIs, visit www.bphc.org/STI

Apr 12
Mayor Walsh, Boston Public Health Commission Announce New Board of Health Appointments and Medical Director

​Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak and John Fernandez to the Boston Board of Health as well as Dr. Jennifer Lo as the Boston Public Health Commission's (BPHC) new Medical Director.​

Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, and John Fernandez, President of Massachusetts Eye and Ear, will join five other board members who serve as BPHC's governing board. Dr. Childs-Roshak, Mr. Fernandez, and Dr. Lo will work to further advance the mission of the City's Health and Human Services Cabinet through BPHC.

"I'm proud to welcome Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, John Fernandez, and Dr. Jennifer Lo to the Boston Public Health Commission team. These experienced healthcare leaders are committed to improving the lives and wellbeing of our residents each and every day.  Increasing access to quality care, promoting equity, and providing residents with important information about their health is a large responsibility we have as a City, and I look forward to working alongside them to do this critical work," said Mayor Walsh.

As president and CEO of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM), Dr. Childs-Roshak leads the largest freestanding reproductive health care provider in the Commonwealth, providing a wide range of sexual and reproductive health care to over 34,000 patients across Massachusetts and educating over 10,000 people through sexual health education programs. Before joining PPLM, Dr. Childs-Roshak provided primary care to Boston-area residents in Atrius Health's Kenmore practice.

"I am honored to join Boston's Board of Health," said Dr. Childs-Roshak. "Mayor Walsh and the Boston Public Health Commission have pushed Boston forward and elevated its status as a national leader in public health. I look forward to working closely with Executive Director Valdes Lupi, the BPHC staff, and my fellow board members to create and advance a platform of initiatives that effectively meet the health needs of all Bostonians."

As president of Mass. Eye and Ear, John Fernandez leads one of the nation's largest independent specialty hospitals exclusively dedicated to conditions that impair vision, hearing and other disorders of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, head and neck. Under his leadership, Mass. Eye and Ear has grown significantly and now has 18 patient care sites that deliver world-class care to patients throughout Greater Boston and Providence.

"Boston has a rich history of working on social and environmental factors that impact people's health outcomes," said Fernandez. "I look forward to serving on Boston's Board of Health and working collaboratively with other leaders to promote health equity in our city."

BPHC Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH, also announced the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Lo as medical director. Dr. Lo previously served as medical director at the Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental Center, where she implemented behavioral health, family planning, and physician training programs. Prior to that role she served as family team medical director at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Programs, where she led a multidisciplinary team to increase access to health care for homeless families and children in Boston. Dr. Lo is also an instructor of Family Medicine at Boston University's School of Medicine.

"We're very lucky to have a physician with extensive experience in health care and in working  in governmental public health join BPHC's executive office," said BPHC Executive Director Valdes Lupi. "We're thrilled to welcome Dr. Lo to her new role as medical director, and Dr. Childs-Roshak and John Fernandez to the Board of Health. Their diverse skills and experience will help us in our efforts to ensure that all Bostonians are able to achieve optimal health."

"I look forward to working with Mayor Walsh, the Board of Health, and Executive Director Valdes Lupi and her team to promote public health programs that advance health equity, strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders, and strengthen partnerships between public health and health care," said Dr. Lo.

Apr 10
National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

April 10th is National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Did you know that in the United States, more than 1 in 5 new HIV diagnoses were in young people aged 13-24 years? Most of those new diagnoses among youth (81%) occurred among men who have sex with men (MSM). Young black and Latino MSM are especially affected. Youth with HIV are the least likely out of any age group to be linked to care and have a suppressed viral load (that is, having a very low level of the virus in the body, which helps the person stay healthy and greatly reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to others). It is important for young people to be provided with the tools they need to reduce their risk of getting HIV. Young people need to understand what HIV is, how it is transmitted, and what they can do to protect themselves.  

Safer sex practices

  • Always use a latex, nitrile or polyurethane condom or barrier (dental dam) when having sex (vaginal, oral, or anal).
    • Condoms made from "natural" materials may protect against pregnancy but NOT HIV or other STIs.
  • Limit your number of sex partners.
  • Talk with your partner about their status and getting tested.
  • Talk with your health care provider about safer sex practices and getting tested.
  • Understand that having sex while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol can increase the likelihood of unprotected sex.
  • Do not share needles or "works" if you are injecting drugs.

Getting Tested

  • Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. Talk to your health care provider about getting tested.
  • You should get tested more often if you: 
    • are a man who has sex with men
    • had sex—anal or vaginal—with an HIV-positive partner
    • had more than one sex partner since your last HIV test
    • injected drugs and shared needles or works with others
    • exchanged sex for drugs or money
    • have been diagnosed with or treated for another sexually transmitted infection (STI)
    • have been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis or tuberculosis (TB)
    • had sex with someone whose sexual history you don't know
  • There are also several free and confidential testing centers in Boston. To find a testing center near you:

To learn more about HIV, visit www.bphc.org/hiv.

Apr 09
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)

Embrace your voice

During April, organizations across the US host events to highlight sexual violence as a public health, human rights, and social justice issue and reinforce the need for prevention efforts.  This year, the national SAAM campaign, coordinated by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), is celebrating its 17th anniversary with the theme "Embrace Your Voice" to inform individuals on how they can use their words to promote safety, respect, and equality to stop sexual violence before it happens. More specifically, individuals can embrace their voices to show their support for survivors, stand up to victim blaming, shut down rape jokes, correct harmful misconceptions, promote everyday consent, and practice healthy communications with children. NSVRC has developed four key resources for this campaign including fact-sheets, Embrace Your VoiceEveryday ConsentHealthy Communications with Kids, and Understanding Sexual Violence.

​Local Resources​

BPHC's Family Justice Center is a coalition of co-located programs and agencies working with victims and survivors of sexual assault, commercial sexual exploitation, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse.  Below is a partial list of our resources.  For more information about our onsite partners, services and professional development opportunities, visit our website


The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center:

  • For some 'Embrace Your Voice' might mean speaking publicly as a survivor, perhaps as a part of the #MeToo movement.  For others it might mean supporting a loved one or speaking out about why and how our culture needs to change, or taking action as a bystander to prevent sexual violence.
  • If you are a survivor who has been thinking about sharing your experience publicly, we have a new resource for you: Sharing Your Story: A Guide to Think through Your Options
  • The BARCC Walk for Change event on April 22nd 
  • Upcoming Public Workshops​

Children's Advocacy Center:

  • The CAC​ offers trainings on prevention, intervention and treatment & therapy 

My Life My Choice:

Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers:

The EVA Center:  

  • ​A program for women who have experienced sexual exploitation (prostitution, sex trafficking) find solutions to the issues they face and exit the commercial sex industry. For more information visit their website.

 

If you or someone you know experienced sexual assault and is seeking resources, call the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Hotline at 1-877-785-2020 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). If you are in immediate danger, call 911. ​

Apr 09
National Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Awareness Month: Gonorrhea

​Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported notifiable disease in the United States. In 2016, a total of 468,514 cases of gonorrhea were reported in the United States. During 2015–2016, the rate of reported gonorrhea cases increased 18.5%.

What is gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) caused by bacteria. It's spread when someone has vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who is infected.  Gonorrhea can also be passed from mother to child during birth. It is passed through vaginal fluids and semen. Anyone who is sexually active can get gonorrhea. If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause very serious health problems.  Women can develop Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which can cause infertility (unable to have children). Men can develop epididymitis. Gonorrhea can also increase your chances of getting other sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV or chlamydia. 

Anti-bioltice Resistant Gonorrhea

Can gonorrhea be treated?

Yes, gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics. It is important to take the medicine as directed and never share your medication with others. Recent or regular sex partners should also be treated since you can get gonorrhea again if you have sex with an untreated partner. It is becoming harder to treat some gonorrhea, as drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea are increasing. Thus, if your symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, you should return to a health care provider to be checked again.​

Protect yourself from gonorrhea!

  • Always use a latex or polyurethane condom or barrier (dental dam) when having anal, vaginal and/or oral sex
  • Reduce your number of partners if you choose to have sex
  • Talk with your partner about their STI status and getting tested
  • Talk with your health care provider about safer sex practices and getting tested
  • Understand that having sex while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol can increase the likelihood of unprotected sex

To learn more about STIs and what you can do to protect yourself from them, visit www.bphc.org/STI.

Apr 05
National Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Awareness Month

April is National Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Awareness month. It is the perfect time to discuss what we know about STIs and what we can do to protect ourselves from them!

STIs, also known as STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), are infections that can be passed from one person to another during sexual activity. These infections include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), Human Papillomavirus (HPV), genital herpes, trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis.

There are many factors that can increase someone's risk of infection from environment to social and cultural factors. Young people ages 15–24 continue to be at greatest risk for most STIs.

The good news? STIs are preventable! There are always risks associated with having sex, but there are ways to reduce your risk of getting STIs. Limit your risk by taking the following steps:

  • Always use a latex, nitrile or polyurethane condom or barrier (dental dam) when having anal, vaginal, or oral sex
  • Limit your number of partners
  • Talk with your partner about their STI status and getting tested
  • Talk with your health care provider about safer sex practices and getting tested
  • Understand that having sex while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol can increase the likelihood of unprotected sex

The only 100% effective way to prevent STIs is to not have sex.

All STIs, even HIV, are treatable, and most are curable. That's why it is important to get tested! The sooner you know you have an STI, the better you can protect your health. If not treated, some STIs can lead to serious health problems. If you have an STI, talk to your partner if it is safe to do so. Keep in mind that if your partner is not treated, your partner will continue to pass the infection back to you, and you will need to be treated again!

To learn more about STIs and what you can do to protect yourself from them, visit www.bphc.org/STI.

Stay tuned for more STI blogs throughout the month!

Apr 02
BPHC Celebrates National Public Health Week

The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) invites the community to stop by, meet our staff and learn about our programming this week as we celebrate National Public Health Week.

National Public Health Week is a national effort that runs from April 2 to April 8, 2018 to elevate the well-established idea that where we live, learn, work, worship and play impacts each of us and can determine our health and life expectancy. BPHC staff work hard every day to serve our community and further our mission to protect, preserve, and promote the health and well-being of all Boston residents, particularly the most vulnerable.

On Tuesday, April 3, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., staff will be greeting guests in the lobby of our headquarters at 1010 Massachusetts Avenue and sharing information about the programs that support families in our community with their health needs.

​We will offer giveaways and information on health insurance enrollment, safe shops and salons, safe and smoke-free housing, and more!

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Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: info@bphc.org