Pierre Crouch’s patients often ask him about the sparkly crown sticker on his name badge. Along with all of his colleagues at Magnet, Pierre – Magnet’s Director of Nursing — wears the sticker to signal that he received this year’s flu shot. And that begins the conversation about flu vaccination. By creating an opportunity during every patient visit to talk about and offer the flu vaccine, Magnet staff have immunized more than twice as many community members this flu season as last season.
You might not guess that flu vaccinations would be a part of Magnet’s repertoire. As a clinic devoted to the sexual health of gay, bi, and queer men, Magnet is known across the Bay Area as a go-to resource for STI testing and prevention. Magnet also offers innovative approached to HIV prevention, including PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) – a medication to prevent HIV infection — and PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) – medication administered after exposure to HIV. But Magnet was founded on the conviction that sexual health doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Instead, promoting complete physical, mental and social well-being of gay men is at the heart of Magnet’s mission. With this in mind, Magnet offers a range of vaccinations in addition to flu, including hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and Tdap. When a meningococcal outbreak hit Southern California this past summer, Magnet stepped up to make sure the outbreak didn’t find its way to San Francisco. “If I have an opportunity to engage with the client as a whole, I take advantage,” says Pierre. “Being vaccinated helps people feel empowered. They know they’re safe.”
Attention to the whole person defines all of Magnet’s work. Magnet is among the many programs that the San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF) hosts in its inviting community space, Strut. Strut is at once an art gallery, lounge, and a home to a range of direct services for GBTQQI (Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex) men. Clients can come to Magnet for clinical services and immediately be connected to other SFAF services and social networks like DREAAM for African Americans men under 30, the Elizabeth Taylor 50-Plus Network for men 50 and over, Positive Force for HIV+ men, and Bridgemen, with monthly meet-ups, social events, and community service projects for all GBTQQI men. Strut’s adage, “No agendas, no lectures, and no finger wagging!” captures its spirit – a client-centered and non-judgmental space for nurturing community health and encouraging community building.
The SFDPH Immunization Program has been honored to partner with Magnet over the past several years to support the organization’s vaccination efforts. Thank you, Magnet staff, for all that you do to create a healthier San Francisco!
Vaccine Recall or Shortage Information
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