LGBTQ Community Health Center Opens in Asbury Park

Tailored Primary Care Service Begins July 31 at VNACJ on Main Street 

This article was originally posted on AsburyParkSun.com and can be viewed here

The Visiting Nurse Association Health Group – Prevention Resource Network – has announced that a new health center tailored to serve the needs of the LGBTQ+ community will open Tuesday in Asbury Park.

The center, made possible through a New Jersey Department of Health, Division of HIV, STD, and TB Services grant, will be apart of the services being offered at the VNACJ Community Health Center of Asbury Park, located at 1301 Main Street.

“Disparities in health care still exist within the LGBTQ+ community causing many to delay or ignore their healthcare needs,” said Shannon Preston, director of HIV Community Services at VNA Health Group. “We are very excited to have this opportunity to provide a culturally competent healthcare setting.”

The new LGBTQ+ Center will be open two nights per week and Saturday afternoon, officials said. Initial services will include STD testing – Rapid HIV and syphilis testing, PrEP Counseling and primary HIV care. Soon, services will expand to include primary care, behavioral health services and Transgender health services.

“Our primary goal at the Community Health Center is to improve the overall health status of individuals in the communities we serve,” said Thomas Thees, interim executive director of the Community Health Center. “With the opening of our new LGBTQ+ Center, our qualified, culturally sensitive and competent staff can better address the specific health needs for these individuals.”

The VNACJ Community Health Center will continue its regular weekday and Saturday morning hours of operation for the general public, officials said. Their services will be available to the LGBTQ+ Center clients, which includes dental care, chiropractic, nutrition counseling, and podiatry.

Behind the new initiative is the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group, the states largest home health, hospice, palliative, and private pay personal care nonprofit. Comprised of over 2,000 visiting nurses and doctors, their community-based care provides a full range of primary care services to over 120,000 people annually.

Prevention Resource Network is a part of the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group, funded by the NJ Department of Health, Division of HIV, STD and TB Services. They provide services to assist at risk HIV negative and HIV positive persons in order to help reduce risk behaviors.

The local Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey Community Health Center is a part of the three federally qualified health centers in Monmouth County. Their services include primary and preventive health care for infants, children, and adults. The Asbury Park, Keyport and Red Bank centers served over 9,230 patients and made over 29,099 visits in 2017.