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JVN + Breast Health + Colleen's Story
Planned Parenthood
TBH To Be Honest.
Just the facts. No judgment.
No apologies.
In This Issue:
JVN + Breast Health + Colleen's Story
Jonathan Van Ness
When I was diagnosed with HIV, I was diagnosed at Planned Parenthood. For that reason, Planned Parenthood is an organization that has meant a lot to me. It's so important to know your status, and to be able to get that medication."
— Jonathan Van Ness
Queer Eye star and author Jonathan Van Ness (JVN) teamed up with Planned Parenthood for a PSA on the importance of getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs or STDs) — and why it's critical to protect access to testing through Title X. Watch now and keep reading below (Hint: JVN sat down with a very special guest for his podcast "Getting Curious").
 Breast Cancer 
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer affecting cisgender (cis) women of any age, race, or ethnicity. More than 240,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the U.S. While it's possible for anyone to be diagnosed with breast cancer, the disease occurs almost entirely in cis women.

But because Black and Latinx cis women face more barriers to accessing health care in the U.S. than white women, they're more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, when cancer is more advanced and less treatable. Breast cancer screenings and mammograms help detect breast cancer in the earliest and most treatable stages — they save lives.

Planned Parenthood provides life-saving breast exams at every one of the more than 600 Planned Parenthood health centers across the country. Here are the answers to common questions we get about breast cancer, getting screened, and when to get a mammogram:

What's breast cancer?

Breast cancer develops when cells in your breast grow out of control and form tumors. Breast cancer can also spread to other parts of your body. So it's important to get regular checkups and cancer screenings.
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Sixteen years ago, I was in between jobs with no health insurance, I discovered a lump in my breast, but I didn't have enough savings to go to a private doctor. So I figured I would just ignore the lump. I had no family history of breast cancer, and I hoped it was nothing important to worry about.

But then I remembered Planned Parenthood. I called my local health center and went in for an appointment. I was diagnosed with invasive stage 2 breast cancer. I was surprised to hear the news, but the staff at Planned Parenthood was reassuring. They told me, "Don't worry; you have options." I went through chemotherapy, radiation, a lumpectomy, and five years of hormone treatment.

If I hadn't gone to Planned Parenthood, I wouldn't have gotten my diagnosis. I might not even be here today. My kids wouldn't be here. I'm grateful that I had access to affordable health care during a time in my life when I was struggling to pay the bills.

— Colleen

Colleen's story is like so many others who receive compassionate, nonjudgmental care at Planned Parenthood health centers. These stories are a reminder of Planned Parenthood's mission and dedication to providing care — no matter what.

What we're listening to:
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In this episode, Planned Parenthood's Acting President & CEO, Alexis McGill Johnson (@alexismcgill), joins Queer Eye's Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) to dig in on the importance of STI testing and treatment and the current state of reproductive rights. Listen now.
What does is mean to be "HIV positive?"
Over time, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) destroys an important cell in your immune system, CD4 cells or T cells that help protect you from infections. When you don't have enough of these cells, it's easier to get really sick from infections that your body could normally fight off. Without treatment, it usually takes about 10 years for someone with HIV to develop AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). Treatment slows down the damage the virus causes, and can help people stay healthy.

If you're living with HIV, have open and honest conversations with potential partners about your status and how you can all stay healthy. You can even invite them to join you on a doctor's visit to get more information.

If you don't have HIV and a potential partner tells you they're living with HIV, remember that mixed-status couples (serodiscordant) have sexual relationships all the time, and do it safely. So listen to the person you like who's talking to you about their health and life, and learn the facts. Ask a nurse or doctor about prevention options, like condoms and PrEP.

If you don't know your HIV status or have never been tested, go talk with a doctor or nurse, like the staff at your local Planned Parenthood, about HIV testing.

— Philip & Kendall at Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood's 103rd Anniversary
This week, we're celebrating Planned Parenthood's 103rd anniversary by sending a message of thanks to health center staff and volunteers. Sign our card to let health center staff and volunteers know just how much you appreciate all they do for their patients.
Planned Parenthood 8th Annual Brunch
In partnership with BET Her, Planned Parenthood hosted its 8th annual brunch as part of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's (CBCF) 49th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC).

The annual brunch honors lawmakers, activists, and influencers who are champions of sexual and reproductive health care and who have unapologetically supported the right to bodily autonomy for Black communities.

Get updates on how Planned Parenthood works each and every day to protect and advance the sexual and reproductive rights of African Americans by following @PPBlackComm on Twitter.

What we're reading:
+ Actor Maulik Pancholy's debut novel champions pro-LGBT, anti-bullying themes
+ Op-Ed: This Is Why We Need Afro-Latinx Added to the Dictionary
+ Fighting for Abortion Access in the South
+ Op-Ed: The Hyde Amendment Puts My Patients at Unnecessary Risk
+ As a disabled woman, my abortion wasn't questioned   but my pregnancy was
TBH (To Be Honest) is a monthly newsletter dedicated to learning about our bodies, talking about sex and relationships, and challenging health inequity and injustice. Send us your feedback.

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